Are you heading to a tropical destination this winter season? Going to visit family for a few weeks over the holidays? If you’re planning to travel or go on a long trip, you probably have a long to-do list. You might need to cancel some services, like housekeeping, you might need to find a pet-sitter, or you might have to task someone with shovelling snow off your driveway for the next few months.

There’s another task that should be on your to-do list that you might not have considered: Preparing your plumbing before you head on vacation.

What should you do to ensure you not only save money when you’re away but also prevent plumbing emergencies and problematic water damage? Keep reading to find out.

1. Shut off the Water Supply

When you’re back from vacation, relaxed and at peace, the last thing you want to walk in on is broken plumbing pipes. Not only does this cost a significant amount of money to fix, but it also creates a huge mess. Your property can be utterly destroyed because you couldn’t take action immediately.

You can quickly and easily eliminate the risk of plumbing-related water damage by shutting off the water supply to your house. It’s just that simple. By shutting off the flow of water at the valve, you can prevent disaster from ruining your trip.

All you have to do is find the main shut-off valve, which may be near your water meter, in the basement, or below ground and covered by a grate outside the home. Can’t find it? Call your neighbourhood plumber for help.

After the water is shut off at the source, drain your lines by opening a faucet.

2. Shut off Individual Valves

If you need to keep your plumbing system on somewhere in the home, you can still prevent leaks and water damage by shutting off individual valves that lead to your dishwasher, washing machine, toilet, sinks, or refrigerator. You can find these valves near the appliances by the water line.

3. Shut off Your Hot Water Tank

You might not realize it, but your hot water tank consumes a lot of electricity. Why come home to a huge utility bill if you haven’t even been home to use the hot water? If there’s no risk of freezing, you can shut off the water heater either at the main circuit panel or by using the main shut-off handle on the tank.

4. Look for Leaks

Several days before you head to the airport, you should take a walkthrough of your home to look for leaks. Check under all appliances, like your washing machine and dishwasher. Also check out your basement and under your house. Take a quick look at your showers, sinks, and baths.

It’s a bad idea to let leaks linger for a long period of time. If you’re going away for an entire season, you’ll come back to a house full of mold and damage.

By checking for leaks in advance, you’ll have enough time to call in a plumber to fix the problem and clean up.

5. Clean Your Drains

Another place that can easily grow mold? Your drains. That’s why it’s a good idea to clean out your drains before bigger issues occur when you’re on vacation. Leaving a buildup of bacteria to fester for a long period of time isn’t a good idea.

Add these plumbing tasks to your pre-vacation to-do list and you’ll save yourself some headaches when you get back. Taking these steps will help you prevent plumbing disasters while you’re away. They’ll also help give you peace of mind. Make sure to turn on your tank and water lines when you get home.

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Mo is a seasoned traveller and an adventurous spirit who dreams of visiting every country around the world. When he's not travelling, you might find him writing and cataloguing about his recent trips.