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Four steps to avoiding water damage to your home while on vacation

Spring and summer are traditionally vacation times.  Most preparations include packing, stopping the mail, arranging for someone to board Fido and setting the security lighting to make it look as though someone was still at home.  Have you considered what should be done though, in case of a water emergency?  Water damage is one of the most devastating things that can occur to a home.  The results of this type damage can be structural ones, mold growth and even loss of property.  So what should you do to secure your home and belongings?There are a number of steps to prevent water damage to the home.First, make sure things are secure and water tight.  What does that include?  Check for any leaks with your water system and make sure the roof is in good condition.  It also includes a manual check of appliances, their hoses and connectors.  Think of everything this would include:  washing machines, ice makers and water connections to the refrigerator, water softener, hot water heater, bathroom and kitchen sinks, crawl space or basement areas with plumbing leading to bathrooms and dishwashers.  If you are able, turn the water off to these appliances before leaving your home for an extended period of time.Second, check your sump pump.  Many times damage occurs because backup systems are not working or the pump is not functioning properly!  Might a battery backup be advisable in case of power failure?  Another handy piece of technology can help here too.  Water alarms are available that can either put out an audible alarm OR can text you with an emergency message.  One I found online can monitor the sump pit, septic system, your hot water heater or utility room drain.  You can see the benefits of immediate warnings! Third, are you vacationing in winter months?  Be sure there is enough insulation around exposed pipes.  Water damage safety includes making sure your pipes don’t burst, so by making sure there’s enough insulation and heat around your pipes, you can prevent flood damage.  What many choose to do is leave the cabinet doors open to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes.Finally, fourth:  Make sure the heat stays on low; don’t turn it off!  Not only that, but arrange for someone to periodically check on your home while you are away.  If there isn’t anyone available, consider turning off the water at the main valve in order to assure that there will be no water damage while you are away.  Before leaving, and after turning off the water, make sure to run the taps and flush the toilet a few times to make sure all the water is out of the pipes.  This will prevent them from bursting if they would get too cold.
Follow these four steps and go enjoy your vacation with peace of mind!