How to Prep Your Plumbing Before VacationAfter days of sun and surf—or snow and slopes—the last thing you want to come home to is a plumbing problem. Take these few simple steps before you go on vacation that can help prevent everything from stinky drains to full-fledged floods.
1. Clean your traps, garbage disposal and drains. Because you won't have water rinsing your drains regularly, any clogs or leftover moisture in your drains and traps can cause unpleasant odors. Clearing the sink traps and cleaning drains and the garbage disposal will help minimize that.
2. Make sure the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer are empty. Leave them open to air, if possible.
3. Drain your pipes. Turn off your water main and then turn on the faucets throughout the house to drain the standing water from your pipes. Outside, disconnect garden hoses, open the spigots and shut off and drain your sprinkler system (unless it needs to run while you're away). If there's no water in your pipes, you shouldn't have to worry about an unnoticed leak or, in cold climates, freezing pipes. Once the water has drained, turn your faucets off! Otherwise, you may waste water once you turn the water main on again.
4. Drain your water heater (unless you have a tankless system). Schedule an appointment with a licensed, professional plumber and get your water heater tuned-up. If necessary, or recommended, ask him/her to drain your water heater. This will not only prevent potential leaks, but also wasted energy. Why pay to have the same tank of water heated over and over, when no one is home to use it?
5. Drain your washing machine and other appliances, if needed. A small amount of water can cause mold, mildew and odors, whether it leaks onto your carpet or stays stagnant in your water lines. Turn off your ice maker so you can stop the motor from running and using up energy while you are away.
6. Have a neighbor or family member check in on your house, especially if you'll be away for an extended period of time.
7. Take the contact number for your emergency plumber with you, in case your house sitter reports a problem. ARS®/Rescue Rooter® is available 7 days a week at 1-800-277-9400.