Whether you’re leaving your Scottsdale, AZ, home for several days or weeks, preparing your plumbing for your next vacation is important. With the right steps, you can greatly reduce the risk of leaks, foul odors, floods, blockages, and more. You can also lower your water bill. The following are 10 priority plumbing tasks to complete before grabbing your luggage and heading out.
1. Turn Your Water Off
Whenever leaving your home unoccupied for more than 24 hours, it’s best to shut your water off. There’s nothing worse than returning from a relaxing vacation only to find your living space flooded, riddled with mold, and temporarily uninhabitable. With your water supply turned completely off, you won’t have to worry about burst pipes, leaks, or other issues.
It is important to know where your main water supply valve is. In the event of a major plumbing emergency, you’ll need to know exactly where this is. This valve should be adjacent to your home’s water meter, and it should have either a lever handle or a wheel control. Simply close the lever or turn this wheel clockwise to turn the water off. When you get home, open the lever back up or turn the wheel counterclockwise to restore your water supply.
2. Drain All Water-Reliant Appliances
Letting residual water fester in your washing machine or dishwasher could make the interior of your home smell downright rotten while you’re away. You don’t want to return to a washing machine that’s hot, humid, and rank-smelling in its interior or a dishwasher that has a trail of ants just beneath it. In addition to draining these appliances, leave their lids or doors open so that they can air dry completely at their interior.
3. Remove Aggressive Weeds at the Building Exterior
Aggressive tree roots have a tendency to grow toward underground plumbing. After all, the waste pipes that travel from your home to the sewer main are rich with moisture and nutrients. If Tree roots could eventually encroach on your pipes and cause major blockages and whole-house plumbing backups. The risk of having tree roots compromising your exterior plumbing features is incredibly high if you still have old, clay pipes traveling from your home to the sewer main. It is recommended to have a Sewer Inspection performed to determine the condition of your sewer main line to prevent these headaches down the road.
4. Test and Maintain Your Sump Pump
If you have a basement that’s protected by a sump pump, you definitely want to test this unit before heading out. Simply fill the sump pit with water while the sump pump is on to verify that it’s capable of draining water and routing it out and away from the building. If you haven’t done so in a while, you should also schedule a professional sump pump maintenance service.
5. Adjust Your Water Heater’s Setting or Turn It Off
Tankless water heaters require little preparation before leaving on vacation. After all, these units aren’t at risk of rupturing and spewing water all over your floors. However, standard, storage-based water heaters may need to be turned off completely. Shutting these water heaters down eliminates the high heat and considerable pressure of normal operation. As standard water heaters near the point of age-related failure, shutting them down is a great way to ensure that your home isn’t flooded when you arrive.
If your standard water heater is fairly new, you can simply turn its temperature setting down instead. Unlike tankless, point-of-use water heaters, tank-based units use energy all of the time. These appliances heat water up and then store it until a hot water tap is turned on. While you’re away on vacation, your water heater will use energy to reheat its water stores again and again. By shutting it down, you can avoid the effects of this unnecessary energy use on your next water bill.
6. Clean Your Drains
Massive blooms of algae and considerable bacteria growth can occur anywhere that stagnant water is present. These same conditions are also appealing to drain gnats. Dirty, debris-covered pipes and drains provide ample moisture and ample food for many different types of pests. Cleaning your drains will limit the likelihood of foul and pervasive odors. It will also keep your drains free of insects that feed on the collected debris in drain catches.
7. Schedule a Whole-House Plumbing Inspection
Whole-house plumbing inspections allow plumbers to identify and resolve minor issues before they’ve spiraled out of control. Scheduling this service can help you find hidden leaks and prevent them from causing baseboard, flooring, or subfloor damage. Whether these leaks or located at the backs of appliances, behind your drywall, or in crawl spaces, if left unchecked, they could set the stage for mold problems, pest problems, and more.
8. Adjust the Pump Settings in All Outdoor Water Features
If you have an outdoor swimming pool, pond, waterfall, or other water feature, you’ll want to adjust its pump setting ahead of your departure. Keeping water pumps running while you’re out of town will ensure that your outdoor water features aren’t riddled with algae or covered in scum when you arrive.
We’re proud to serve residents of Scottsdale, AZ. We offer plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical services. Our clients can also turn to us for indoor air quality services, ductless mini-split systems, and preventative maintenance plans. If you need help preparing your plumbing system for your next vacation, call AC by J today!