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This summer, people are looking forward to getting away more than ever before. Whether it’s a weekend camping trip near Spring Branch, TX, taking a road trip cross-country, or a weeks-long international vacation, your home will be left unoccupied while you’re gone.
While most people think to take the trash out, double-check that appliances are off, and ask a neighbor to bring the mail in once or twice, there are several other things you can do to ensure that your home’s plumbing is safe and, more importantly, will remain that way during your absence. The last thing you want is to come home to a disaster that requires a costly plumbing repair.
Check for Leaks
Start at one end of your home and work your way to the other end, going room by room to check every faucet and water hose for leaks. Think like a plumbing repair man and go beyond what’s easily seen, checking the hose connections under cabinets, as well as washing machine hoses and showerheads. Whether you can visibly see any signs of leaking or not, it’s a good idea to tighten all valves and faucet handles. If possible, try and do this a few days before leaving, so that if you do encounter any worrisome leaks, you’ll have enough time to call a plumbing repair service before your trip.
Aside from being an annoying problem, a plumbing leak can cause higher water bills or could result in a pipe eventually bursting, causing catastrophic damage to your home that would go well beyond the scope of simple plumbing repair.
Adjust Your Water Heater
A water heater is one of those major appliances that’s extremely easy to take for granted and never think about at all – until you have a plumbing repair emergency, that is. However, it’s constantly working hard and expending energy.
When you’re going to be away for even just a couple of days, there’s no need for your water heater to be working at full capacity. Many units have adjustable settings for “low” or “vacation” that allow them to continue to run, but using much less energy, saving you money. You can also simply turn it off if you prefer. Either way, there is only one dial on the water heater that controls these functions, so it’s super simple and quick to do.
Consider Turning Off the Water Altogether
If you’ll be away for more than just a few days, another great option is to simply turn off your home’s main water supply entirely. No one will be home needing the water anyway, so you can play it extra safe and eliminate the source of any potential problems altogether.
To do it, it’s simply a matter of turning the water shutoff valve to the off position. The valve is typically located right next to your home’s water meter outside, and often right up against the house on the side or in the backyard.
There are some things to consider before making the decision to turn off your water supply. Are you having someone house sit who may need to use a toilet, sink, or shower? Do you have a pool or irrigation system for your yard? In some cases, pool pumps and sprinklers have a completely separate water supply, meter, and shutoff valve, but that is not the majority of cases. If your pool setup or irrigation requires your home’s main water supply, shutting off the valve may not be a feasible option. Generally speaking, if a pool doesn’t run regularly – even for just a few days – algae can quickly accumulate, leading to a host of other potential problems. Your local plumbing repair company could easily have a look at your system and help you determine if your home has just one water supply.
Don’t Forget the Sump Pump
Plumbing repair companies are asked about sump pumps frequently, and if you don’t even know what they are, that’s okay! Essentially, the sump pump sits underneath a basement and collects excess water, then pumps it away from the house. This is especially useful in rainy climates or where flash floods are common, like Texas.
Not all Spring Branch, TX, homes have sump pumps, but many do. If your home has one, it’s a good idea to make a habit out of checking it every so often anyway, but especially before you leave town for any period of time. To test it, make sure it has power, then pour a bucket of water directly over it. The pump should activate immediately and remove the water from the retention pit. If it doesn’t do that, it may not be working properly and you should call a plumbing repair company to inspect it further.
A sump pump is something you definitely want to proactively maintain. You certainly don’t want to find out it isn’t working because suddenly you have a flood in your home the next time it storms!
Vacations should be care-free and you should get to relax and enjoy time with your family, not be worried about a potential plumbing emergency. Fortunately, with just a few simple tips and tricks, you can easily get your house into ideal vacation mode so you have peace of mind while you’re away.
It is always a good idea to keep the number of a local emergency plumbing repair company handy, however – just in case. bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston offers a wide range of plumbing and drain repair services throughout the entire Houston metro area, including same-day and 24/7 emergency repairs.
Our certified plumbers are always on time and provide upfront, fair pricing, plus we don’t charge any additional fees for coming on a weekend, after-hours, or a holiday. We also offer free estimates! Give us a call at (346) 262-0129 or contact us online today.