Finding Plumbing Issues Early

Tips To Protecting Your Plumbing While On Vacation This Winter

by Chris Bowman

Water pipes in your home are vulnerable to freezing and breaking during winter.  Water leaks from frozen piping can flood your basement, damage floor joists or even encourage the growth of mold in your home. Insulating your pipes and ensuring that all your pipes are inspected for leaks prior to plummeting temperatures can help avoid such catastrophic damage to your plumbing system.

Unfortunately, an unoccupied home is at a higher risk of plumbing damage during winter, as there won't be anyone around to keep watch for leaks or any other damage to the pipes. If you are planning to go on holiday this winter, read on for tips on how to protect your plumbing system from damage while you are away.

Leave the HVAC on

Leaving your HVAC thermostat turned on to a low setting won't translate to outrageous utility bills, but will ensure your pipes and faucets stay well heated. Leaving the heat on also prevents moisture from building up in interior spaces, saving your appliances, wooden surfaces and drywall from moisture damage.

Drain and blow out the water supply lines

In order to ensure the pipes do not freeze over while you are away, be sure to take out all the water from the supply system. To do this, begin by shutting off the water mains to your house before letting your faucets run until no more water comes out. If you have a water pump, be sure to turn it off to avoid a scenario where water is pumped into the pipes after you have left.

To ensure most water is eliminated from the pipes, you should consider calling in a plumber to blow out the pipes. Using an air compressor, the plumber can force residual water out the faucets. This can help prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting should the power go out.

Drain your appliances

A frozen pipe in your washing machine or dishwasher could cause costly damage, so be sure to drain and add anti-freeze to the bottom of these appliances. The water supply line to the ice maker on your fridge is also very susceptible to freezing if the power goes out, so be sure to disconnect the appliance and let all the water drain out. Auxiliary units such as the water softener should also be drained, while the toilets should be flushed until they are fully empty to prevent internal components from freezing over.

If you have radiant floor heat or a heat pump, consult your plumber {like those at Puget Sound Plumbing} on how to drain such heating systems so as to prevent freezing problems.