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Plumbing Priorities Before Leaving on Your Vacation

When planning for vacation, it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent plumbing problems from happening while you are away. Leaks, drips, and broken water lines can occur when no one is home to fix them, which can result in costly damages to your home. To ensure that you have a stress-free vacation, follow these simple steps to prepare your home for your absence.

Step 1: Clean the Garbage Disposal Before leaving for vacation, ensure that your garbage disposal is clean. Any food particles left inside the unit can rot and decay, which can promote bacteria growth and lead to unpleasant odors. You can use special disposal cleaners or consult a plumber for recommendations.

Step 2: Clean the Toilets Toilets can also develop unpleasant smells when water is not running through them for a few days. Therefore, it is important to clean them before you leave.

Step 3: Inspect the Sump Pump If you have a sump pump in your basement, ensure that it is functioning properly by filling it with water to see if it kicks on. If it does not, call a plumber to repair it.

Step 4: Turn Off the Water Main Shutting off the water main is a great way to prevent any water damage from occurring while you are away. By shutting off the water main, you will not have to worry about individual valves failing, and you will save time on your vacation plumbing checklist.

Step 5: Shut Off the Hot Water Heater If you have a tank-based hot water heater, turn it off before leaving for vacation. This will save you money on your electric or gas bill, as the hot water will not need to cycle periodically to maintain your desired temperature. For electric models, flip the switch near the water heater, while for gas models, turn the temperature setting all the way down.

Step 6: Slowly Turn on Faucets to Drain Water Out of the Pipes After turning off the water main and hot water heater, open faucets one at a time in the kitchen and bathrooms to drain out as much water as possible. Flush the toilet to remove any water from the tank and put a small amount of toilet bowl cleaner in the remaining water to keep it smelling fresh.

Step 7: Shut Off the Automatic Ice Maker If your freezer has an automatic icemaker, turn it off to prevent it from trying to make ice while you are away. For freestanding ice makers, turn the cycle select switch to the “off” position or unplug it and empty out any ice inside.

Step 8: Don’t Forget About Your Plants/Garden If you have an underground sprinkler system, ensure that it is working correctly and set it to turn on at specific times. For gardens and flower beds, use soaker hoses to ensure that the plants receive sufficient water.

Step 9: Leave the Washer and Dishwasher Doors Open By leaving the doors of the washer and dishwasher open, any remaining water will evaporate and prevent the formation of mold and mildew.

When returning from vacation, follow these simple steps to turn your water back on.

Step 1: Verify All Water Faucets Are Turned Off Make sure that all faucets are turned off before turning on the water main. When the water is turned back on, there will be air in the pipes that needs to be vented out slowly.

Step 2: Turn on the Water Main Slowly turn on the water main until the handle or knob stops turning.

Step 3: Turn on the Faucets Starting with the faucets near the water main and working towards the ones farthest away, slowly turn on the hot and cold water and open them about a third of the way. Do this for every faucet in the home,

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