Vacation-Proof Your Home

Alright, gather around friends, folks, and families. Vacation season is upon us, and we’re here with four tips to make sure you return to an oasis of calm and not a wet mess of burst pipes and ruined furnishings. Yes, there’s a lot that can go wrong, but with a few simple steps, you can dodge disaster and set off on your travels without a plumbing care in the world.

1. Avoid Irrigating Leaks

A lot of home owners forget about their sprinkler system while they’re away, especially if they have an automated system set up. Although it may be tempting not to change anything while you’re away, it makes more sense to turn off the water while on vacation and drain your sprinklers. Doing so saves you from wasting water and prevents a system fault. And don’t worry, your lawn won’t suffer too much.

To drain your sprinkler system:

  1. Shut off the water supply.
  2. Locate the water valve that controls the flow to your sprinkler system and turn it off.
  3. Drain the system: Open all the valves to let the water drain out completely. If your system has a backflow preventer, make sure to drain it as well.
  4. Blow out the lines: Use an air compressor to blow out any remaining water in the lines. This step ensures that no water is left to freeze and cause damage.

2. Root for Clear Drains!

Don’t you just love a big tree? The shade, the beautiful colors, the clogged-up drains and pipes. Don’t get us wrong, we’re big tree fans, but, realistically, their fallen leaves and roots are the cause of more drain blockages and damaged pipes than we’d care to admit. Granted, this damage is usually the culmination of debris over time, but you really don’t want the moment of tragedy to happen while you’re away. 

Here are a few things to check before you hit the road:

  1. Inspect your drains. Look for any signs of slow drainage, which could indicate a blockage.
  2. Check outdoor pipes. Ensure there are no visible obstructions or damage.
  3. Clear away debris: Remove any leaves, dirt, or other debris that may have accumulated around your drains and outdoor pipes.

If you find something that looks concerning, don’t wait until after you return home from vacation! Schedule a consultation with one of our technicians; we can be there within 24 hours and have all pipes cleaned and draining correctly.


3. Keep It Clean. And Dry. And Empty.

We’re talking washing machines. Have you ever forgotten a wet load in your machine and come back to a musty nightmare? Now, every day you’re away, and your homecoming will be haunted by moldy welcome, not to mention the damage mould can cause to the seals and fixtures.

To avoid using a laundromat while you have your machine fixed, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the interior: Run a cleaning cycle with a washing machine cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to remove any buildup.
  2. Drain and empty: Make sure to drain any remaining water from the machine. Check the drain hose for any obstructions.
  3. Leave the door open. Once the machine is clean and drained, leave the door open to allow it to air out. This prevents musty odours and mold growth.

4. Turn It Off

The best way to prevent a plumbing emergency is to completely turn off water while on vacation. It might be impossible to predict which pipe will spring a leak while you’re on vacation, but closing the shut-off valve guarantees you won’t be coming home to a flooded basement or water-soaked furniture.

How to close the water shut off valve:

  1. Locate the main shut-off valve. This is typically found in the basement, garage, or near the water meter.
  2. Close the water shut off valve. Rotate the valve clockwise to shut off the water supply to your entire home.
  3. Test the water. It’s best to make sure there’s absolutely no water coming out of the faucet and everything seems to be completely shut off.

By taking this precaution, you eliminate the risk of water damage from leaks or burst pipes.

Extra things to ask your plumber:

While they’re on site, you may as well get your friendly Roto-Rooter plumber to help you with the following leak prevention points:.

  1. Check the sump pump.
  2. Set up a water leak detection system. It’s like a burglar alarm, but for leaks, it’s a good way to not be taken by surprise, and a really good water leak detection system can help you avoid a plumbing emergency and take action even if you’re just at work.