How to Prevent Water Damage While on Vacation
by: Alissa Fuhrmann
Wondering how to prevent water damage while on vacation? You are not alone. Water damage is the 2nd most common home insurance claim and can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage in a short amount of time. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can help prevent or quickly mitigate any such incidents.
GET SOME HELP FROM A NEIGHBOR
Water damage has the potential to cause severe damage to your home. If you spring a leak the day after you leave, and no one goes into the home until you return, the damage will be extensive and expensive.
- Give a neighbor a spare set of keys and have them enter the home periodically to ensure nothing has happened.
- If you do not have neighbors or family who can check in on the home, then play it safe and turn the water main off before you leave.
DO AN INSPECTION
With or without your neighbor’s help, do a thorough inspection of every water-related item in your home, from the washing machine to the toilets. The more potential leaks you find and fix before you leave, the safer your home is while you are gone. Things to inspect:
- Pipes under every sink
- Water heater
- Seals around windows (in case it rains)
- Appliance hoses: washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker
- Sump pump. Dump a bucket of water into the sump pump to ensure it is working. Make sure to listen to its motor running as well.
- Toilet tanks. Look for cracks that may worsen and leak while you are gone.
- Turn off the water main.
- Drain every pipe after the water main is turned off, including outside spigots. Turn on the sink faucets until no more water comes out. Flush the toilets to drain the bowl and as much of the tank as you can.
- Keep the HVAC system turned on. Your home needs constant air circulation to maintain itself properly. Without it, condensation can build and cause water damage or mold to grow, and pipes can freeze.
- Clean the gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris so they can divert rainwater.
WHAT HAVE I JUST COME HOME TO?
Did you just come back from vacation to find water damage in your home? You are not alone. No method of prevention is 100% foolproof, so even if you took the appropriate steps, you could still come home to costly repairs.
- Do not panic.
- Call a restoration company to perform water extraction where needed and start the drying process.
- Call your insurance company so that they can send out an adjuster. This is the only way you can make a claim for the water loss, and they want you to act as quickly as possible to avoid an escalation of costs.