Heading out on a long-haul vacation and want to make sure all the plumbing bolts are screwed down tightly?
You can’t always rely on neighbors to keep an eye out for you, so we’ve assembled a handy plumbing maintenance checklist that will make certain you return to dry floors and a house that isn’t upside-down.
Shut off the Mains
First thing’s first; for peace of mind, the best thing you can do for plumbing maintenance before a vacation is to simply shut off the supply of water to your house. Of course, this isn’t always possible, especially if you have a house-sitter over for that period, or if your irrigation system is required for keeping your garden alive!
Nevertheless, it’s the most effective item on a plumbing checklist before vacation begins: stopping a drop of water from ever reaching the house. If you decide to take this route to keep plumbing maintenance in order while you’re away, you can also turn off the valves to your washing machine, and release the remaining water in all faucets, as well as the ice-maker, dishwasher, and all sundry water-utilizing appliances you may have.
Sump Pump Maintenance
Northern Nevada hasn’t had too many floods apart from the last historic one, which tore through the vicinity, but on the chance occasion that things do get a little waterlogged, it’ll be time to have someone turn on the sump pump.
A sump pump is the kind of emergency appliance you only use when it’s too late, so it’s natural to leave its working condition to chance. Before going on holiday though, it’s best to run a miniature plumbing maintenance checklist on the item all on its own. It can be a life-saver for your home.
A plumbing maintenance check on the sump pump is as simple as tossing a bucket of water into the sump pump pit and turning it on to see if it works. And if you’re concerned storms might knock out the power supply, a further measure you can take is to get hold of a backup battery system.
Check the Gutters
For the sake of your walls and foundations, you’ll want to clear any debris that might be backing up your gutters.
The purpose of your gutter system is to disperse water a standard six feet from your house. A downpipe extension should be in place, so be sure to tick this off your plumbing checklist.
Hopefully, you’ve been keeping a hand on the horizontal gutters, clearing any leaves, sticks, and detritus as they occur. If not, you might need to test the downpipes to see if they’re clear.
If in doubt, you can run water through the gutters with a hosepipe to complete your outdoor plumbing maintenance checklist.
If the gutters aren’t running as smoothly as hoped, you can get to work by detaching and then reattaching the downspout. If that’s been squared away and the gutters still aren’t clean, you can try using a high-pressure hose or an ordinary hose on the vertical gutters.
Needless to say, you’ll need to fix any holes, kinks, or splits where they appear. After all, you don’t want to come home to slimy marks on your walls!
You should have a fairly good sense of whether your drains are blocked. The gurgling which occurs every time one flushes the toilet or lets water down the kitchen sink says enough. But there are two very good plumbing maintenance reasons to have your drains cleaned before you head out on a lengthy stay away from home.
You might have picked up a less than savory odor emanating from your drains on returning home from a vacation before. This is not because the sewer monster has made himself comfortable while you were away. That odor is the result of a lack of free-flowing water passing through the drain and water pipes.
The other reason is that pipes can accumulate layers of organic growth when not in use and so it makes sense to strip the base layers away with an effective eco-friendly drain cleaner. You might need some expert help if the situation is more serious, in which case we’d be glad to assist you at your home with more powerful equipment.
This kind of offensive post-holiday smell makes eradicating blockages in your drains all the more necessary before leaving on holiday; not to mention, neglecting to do so can have an untoward effect on anyone you’ve entrusted to look after your house during the period.
Take Care of Tree Roots
An oft-overlooked aspect of plumbing maintenance before leaving on vacation is the danger of tree roots interfering with sewerage lines. Fortunately, this is a costless problem that anyone can solve with the right amount of elbow grease and enough runway in terms of time.
20% of tree varieties tend to cause 80% of the damage to sewerage lines. If you have a tree species that you know to cause undermining issues, it’s probably best to look into this possibility and to make absolutely sure your sewage pipes are safe from harm.
This is one of those dangers that are cheap to avoid and very expensive to fix. And after all, nobody wants to return to a garden that hums to high heaven. Scratch this off your vacation plumbing checklist to avert disaster.
Keep the Pool Pump Running
Another area of plumbing maintenance that is often neglected is the piping that runs to and from the pool pump.
Algal build-up occurs while you’re away. That can create an inordinate strain on the pump and reduce its life expectancy. If you can keep the pump running at an optimal setting while you’re away, it’s always advisable to do this. It’s also cheaper than replacing an entire pump.
We’ve all seen how quickly pools can degenerate into a mire before long, and the same is true inside the areas of the pool pump that you can’t see. This is an aspect that can’t unfortunately be solved by heavily dosing your pool with chlorine before you head off.
Mold isn’t restricted to areas where you’d expect it. It’s also found in that dishwasher you forgot to drain, or that washing machine you used up until the day you left on holiday. Plumbing before leaving on vacation also involves these areas.
Don’t forget to also open up the doors to air them out to eliminate any remaining dampness.
Avoid Frozen Pipes
If you’re leaving over the winter period, it makes sense to keep the water heater on. Things can get pretty frigid in Reno and surrounding areas.
You won’t need your water to be piping hot, so save electricity bills by switching to vacation mode. Part of your plumbing maintenance checklist should weigh up the pros and cons of leaving on or turning off various appliances.
Check for Corrosion
Are there any spots in your house that come to mind where the words dampness or corrosion are concerned?
A damp spot on a wall or a corroding pipe might be something you can put off fixing for a week or two, but it definitely requires maintenance before you head out on holiday. Areas of Northern Nevada are noted for having very hard water which can also be a catalyst for pipe corrosion.
Areas of concern also include appliances like refrigerators, and pipes running from water heater units and AC units. If you see any corrosion taking place on these items, now is a good time to get them sorted out. This saves you more hefty plumbing maintenance bills in the long run too; especially replacement. And we’d rather save you those hassles.
Ask a Neighbor to Keep an Eye Out
Hopefully, you have someone on call if things don’t go to plan. There are no guarantees in life and plumbing maintenance before vacation is no different. You might find plenty of reasons to keep your water mains on, in which case, it’s useful to have someone who can call our plumbing experts when emergencies do occur.
Breaking it all Down
You don’t want to spend all of your time re-reading long lists, especially holiday plumbing checklists, so let’s break everything down that we’ve discussed. When leaving your home for a vacation, there are really only three areas of concern you need to consider.
The first of these is the outdoor area. This involves the water mains, the pool, the sewage lines, the gutters, and the sump pump. If you can say you’ve thoroughly considered all of these areas, then you’re well on your way to a worry-free holiday, at least where plumbing maintenance is concerned.
Further to this is the indoor piping of your home. This basically requires that you make sure it’s clean, intact, and corrosion-free. Bear in mind that water hardness can lead to build-up you can’t see, so any minor sign of corrosion may be the tip of the iceberg. If in doubt, remember that plumbing maintenance before vacation is much cheaper than plumbing maintenance during vacation.
Lastly are all the extra appliances you might want to keep running while you are gone. These may be water heaters or pool pumps. Make sure that what you need “on” stays on. There is also the need to drain any appliances you won’t be using, like washing machines and dishwashers, as well as AC units.
Have any Questions or Concerns?
We’ve covered just about every conceivable type of plumbing need over the last 20 years of our expert service in Northern Nevada. So if you have any niggling questions you need to ask or plumbing challenges that need solving before going on holiday, please don’t leave it to chance.
Our courteous and quality plumbing maintenance service is backed up by up-front pricing. In the case of holiday plumbing maintenance, it can be cheaper to solve the problem before it occurs.
We’d prefer to save you the hassle of dealing with awkward emergencies while you’re enjoying time away. After all, there’s nothing more valuable than total peace of mind while you’re on holiday.
Take the guesswork out of your holiday plumbing maintenance needs and contact us today for a quotation.