Prevent winter pipe damage when you’re away this winter! With the holiday season approaching, families will be traveling across the globe to spend time with their loved ones. If you’re traveling this year, you’ve probably gone through several security measures to ensure the safety and well-being of your home while you are gone. The security system is in place-check. Backup generator in case your home loses power-check. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, and neighbors are on the watch for anything suspicious. What could you possibly be missing?
Like the rest of your home, your pipes should be both considered and protected when you plan to be away from your home for any extended length of time. Damages from blockages, corrosion, or freezing temperatures can cause your entire piping system to malfunction or fail. Pipe damage can cause major problems in the home, especially if it occurs while you’re away and it goes unnoticed—until the pipe bursts or a toilet overflows. To avoid coming home to costly repairs or flood damage and to extend the longevity of your system, there are ways to protect your pipes when you’re traveling.
Prevent Outdoor Damage
Pipes lead in and out of your home, so proper preventative steps should be performed in both areas. Here are a few tasks to perform outdoors that can ensure the well-being of your drain and sewer system:
- All outdoor hoses should be disconnected; stagnant water lying around in a hose can potentially freeze back into the pipe itself. Freezing pipes are at risk of bursting, which not only damages your pipes but can cause water damage or mold in areas of flooding.
- Trees and shrubbery should be maintained, especially if you plan to be traveling for a while. Roots are one of the leading causes of pipe damage; they can wrap around pipes and can even break through and grow into them. Landscaping should be placed above utility pipes with caution.
- Gutter drainage should be managed; if heavy rain or snow occurs while you’re away and gutters are draining into one specific spot, flooding or freezing can occur.
Prevent Indoor Damage
Indoor prevention of pipe damage is of the utmost importance because it can cause the most damage. If a blockage or break occurs inside your home, damage can be hazardous, and repair can be costly. Basements or garage temperatures can drop even lower than outdoors. Here are steps you can take to prevent pipe damage inside your home:
- Know where your shut-off valve is. If it’s possible to shut off your main water supply while you’re gone, it’s ok to do so. If not, you can shut off valves to the most common areas or appliances in your home. These individual valves are installed along pipes leading to each system and typically have a small handle.
- Pipes can be insulated to prevent bursting. This is especially beneficial to those that are located in cooler areas like a basement, garage, or crawlspace. Because you will likely leave the heat on at a lower temperature while you’re gone, these areas will be even more at risk of freezing temperatures.
- Check supply lines before you leave. They can grow brittle with age, or leaky due to wear and tear. If there are any signs of damage, they should be replaced immediately. This should be done regularly but is especially important before you travel to prevent malfunction while you’re away.
- If you have a sump pump, it should be checked before you take off. You can test yours by filling the pit with water and making sure that it’s working as it should pump it out. Be sure that its plug and cord are in good shape, and that the breaker is functioning properly as well. You may want to consider a backup battery in case your home loses power while you’re away.
- Stop outside airflow by checking attics and crawlspaces for leaks, which can cause pipes to freeze in severely cold temperatures. heat tape can be applied to questionable areas.
- If snow falls before you begin your trip, be sure to shovel any areas around water drains. If it snows again while you’re away, there will be less buildup.
Now that you’re familiar with the ways you can prevent winter pipe damage while you’re away, you’re ready to travel this holiday season. Whether you plan to visit family, travel with a loved one, or go on a solo adventure, you will have peace of mind knowing that your drain and sewer system are being protected at home.
Call 3 Mountains Plumbing today to learn about preventing pipe damage this winter!