The holidays are upon us, and many Phoneix residents are planning to be away from home during the next couple of months. So, for those homeowners who are planning a winter vacation, we've assembled some tips to keep mishaps down to a minimum.
Shut off the water valve
If a pipe bursts or there is another plumbing issue, if the water valve is off, it can prevent will a flood. What about those who have an automatic sprinkler system or irrigation? There should be a separate valve to the house. While the water heater may still be able to leak, there is a massive difference between forty or fifty gallons and an unlimited supply.
2) Water sensor
If a homeowner is worried about the water heater and has a Smart Hub, a Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor can be purchased for under $40, which will send a message to a smartphone instantly if the water heater leaks.
If the home doesn’t have a hub and the owner doesn’t want one, the Proteus water detector uses their wifi and sends a text or email if there is a leak. It will run about $100.
3) The ‘safety walk.’
The very act of consciously walking through the home and unplugging appliances offers the homeowner the opportunity to create a contiguous memory of these precautions or take photos of off switches on each device. He won’t lay awake in his hotel room or in Grandma's spare room, listening to the sounds of the night and wondering, “Did I leave the oven on?”
Because it’s easier to remember elements of the ‘safety walk’ than it is trying to recall a specific event if one was haphazardly unplugging things at random, the safety walk is worth the time.
Unplugging all the heat-creating appliances such as toasters and mini ovens is easy. In fact, some people do this as a matter of habit every time they use a small heat appliance. Homeowners should disconnect delicate electronics rather than relying on surge protectors while away. Not the wifi, of course, because he'll need that for the water sensor. (See above.)
4) In the summer, turn the A/C up but not off
Intense Phoenix heat can damage flooring and wood, so a vacationer shouldn’t shut the HVAC completely off. But, if it’s turned up, it will lower the electric bill.
5) Turn the water heater to ‘vacation mode.'
Many gas water heaters feature a vacation mode. Electric water heaters can be turned to the lowest possible setting (if they aren’t already).
6) Making neighbors aware
The homeowner should ask neighbors, in a reciprocal agreement, to keep an eye out for trouble.
If the sprinkler system springs a leak or someone leaves a flyer for pizza delivery on the front door, a neighbor can handle those incidentals before they turn into a massive water bill or break-in alert for burglars.
7) Clean the kitchen stinkers
The three appliances which cause the most odors when a home is vacant for a while are the refrigerator, the garbage disposal, and the dishwasher. Cleaning these three will minimize the potential for mold, rot, and pests while the family is away. It is also advisable to take out the trash and leave the lid up on the washing machine.
8) Lock all doors and windows and set the alarm
In a second home walk-through, each door and window should be checked to make sure it’s locked, and then the alarm should be turned on. Securing the home is an important step, and shouldn’t be skipped, especially if more than one person lives in the house.
A vacation is much more enjoyable if plumbing and other disasters are avoided or minimized. While a homeowner can’t prevent every mishap, a few simple precautions can make a world of difference, both regarding the amount of damage an incident can cause and in peace of mind.
If you need a licensed, bonded, insured plumber for your Phoenix area leak or your next plumbing project, call MNS Plumbing today at 602-362-4524