With the holiday season here, you may be planning a vacation to visit warmer climates or family. To help ensure you have a surprise free return home, our Sila team put together a list you can follow to reduce the odds of Mr Grinch showing up while you are gone. Our seven simple steps will help you prepare your plumbing for cold temperatures to avoid burst pipes.
Step 1: Turn off the water main to the house.
If you plan to be gone for a long period, locate your home’s main water shut off valve and turn it off. This will protect your home from flooding in the unlikely event of a burst water line. It is also a good time to double check the functioning of your water shut off valve. Older gate style valves, like the ones on your garden hose, can wear out and fail over time. If you are unable to shut off the water or the valve is stuck, our team at Sila can install a new valve so you can quickly shut off water. Once you have the water shut off, open the faucets in the house to drain out the water lines. This will remove any standing water in the pipes.
Step 2: Turn off any devices that require water.
When you turn off the water, make sure you also turn off anything that requires water. This would include any ice makers or humidifiers in the home. These appliances can develop issues if allowed to run out of water. Other appliances you should prepare include your dishwasher and laundry machine. Make sure both are clean and dry with the doors left open to allow them to fully dry out.
Step 3: Disconnect hoses and drain irrigation systems.
Disconnect any hoses connected to your home or unit and drain or have your irrigation system cleared of any standing water.
Step 4: Set your water heater to vacation mode or turn it off and drain the system.
This applies to most stand alone tank and tankless systems. There will be a vacation mode or low temp setting you can utilize for short vacations. With this enabled, the unit should use little or no fuel. If you decide to fully turn off a unit with a pilot light and drain the tank, you should make sure you are comfortable with re-igniting the unit when you return. If you are uncomfortable with turning your water heater on or off, contact our team at Sila and we can perform this along with checking the rest of your system before you leave.
Step 5: Test your sump pump.
If your home is equipped with a sump pump you should regularly test the start/stop features and any battery back ups the pump may have. For more information, check our sump pump maintenance tips and learn 4 signs that your sump pump needs to be replaced. If your pump has ceased to function, a replacement can easily be installed by our team.
Step 6: Set your thermostat to 58 degrees for a short vacation.
Make sure your heating system is set to a minimum of 58 degrees. This will help protect any water lines you could not drain from freezing. Also opening the doors on any under sink cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom will help circulate heat to the pipes. This may seem redundant if you have shut off the water, but in some situations a small amount of water can be trapped in drains and supply lines. It’s one more step to ensure you have a peaceful return home. This would also be a good time to schedule a service appointment for your heating system. This will help reduce the chance of a system issue during your vacation.
Step 7: Provide emergency contact information with a trusted neighbor or friend.
If you have a trusted neighbor, provide them with a way to contact you in case there is an emergency. If you are in an apartment or shared space building, make sure your contact information is up to date with the building maintenance team. It also is handy to have the number of your trusted Sila team saved in your phone just in case.
With these simple steps, you should be able to enjoy your vacation or return from your getaway problem free.
We are here to help
Be sure to contact a Sila certified HVAC technician to discuss your options. They can provide an informed recommendation to help you decide which is the best heating system for your home to efficiently reduce your costs and provide the best solution for your needs.