Before I leave on vacation, is there anything I ought to do with my plumbing system? (Wendy E., St. Albert)
Excellent question Wendy. There are a couple of steps you should take anytime you leave your home for more than a day or two. First, you should turn off the main water supply valve in your home so that you can de-pressurize your water pipes. This valve is usually located close to the floor right beside your water meter.
Next, turn the temperature on your hot water tank down to either the “Off” or the “Vacation” setting – this will save you a bit of money by not paying to heat water that you won’t be using. Once you’ve done both of these things, open up the highest and lowest faucets in your home, and allow them to run until the water stops flowing on its own.
Once it’s stopped, you will have successfully de-pressurized your house! Lastly, flush all of your toilets to drain the water from their tanks, and if you’re going on a winter vacation, take the additional step of pouring a cup of RV anti-freeze into each toilet bowl after flushing to prevent ice from forming in case the heat goes out while you’re away.
Many more houses are damaged every year by water than by fire; by following these simple steps, you will have done everything possible to protect your home from water damage while you’re away. As always, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!