Water damage is one of the most common homeowner insurance claims
. Often, frozen pipes lead to leaks, which will cause all kinds of water damage in your home. If you're on vacation during the winter and this happens, the water damage can become extremely severe as it goes unchecked for days or even weeks. While it isn't always practical to monitor your home while you're away, there are things you can do to help keep your home's pipes from freezing. Here are some tips:
Check for Leaks Before You Leave
Before you leave for your vacation, do a visual inspection of your pipes. Are there any leaks or corroded areas? You might have to find the access panel to your crawlspace or poke your head around in your basement. Bring a flashlight and look for anything that looks out of place, damaged, or wet. You don’t have to be a plumber to notice a leaking pipe.
If you do see a leak or spot a place with a lot of corrosion or rust, contact a plumber before you leave. A visit from a plumber could save you lots of money and plenty of headaches.
Check the Hoses on Appliances
Look at the hoses on your fridge, your washing machine, and any other appliances that have a water line attached to them. The hoses can easily freeze, burst, and cause all kinds of water damage. Additionally, you’ll want to look for leaky fittings or any loose connections. If you notice any leaking or poor fittings, consider either buying new fittings or replacing the entire hose.
Leave Cupboards Open
Despite what some people believe, the space inside your cupboards is not heated. Sure, it might get some of the heat from your home, but the cupboards will shut out most of the hot air. Before you leave for your vacation, it’s a good idea to open the cupboards around the sink and let the air from the house warm the pipes.
Add Insulation to Your Pipes
One way to help keep your pipes warm is to insulate them, which can be purchased at your local hardware store. If you don’t feel like crawling around in your crawlspace or working in your basement, you should be able to hire someone to add insulation to your pipes for you.
Reach Out to a Friend
One of the best ways to help ensure that your home is safe is to have a friend stop by while you’re on vacation. While they’re there, they can check to make sure the pipes aren’t frozen and that the rest of your house is still safe and locked up. Having a friend stop by is also a good idea because if something does go wrong, they will be able to notify you and do something about it before the damage gets to be too much.
Turn Off Your Water
Although you don’t have to do this for a weekend getaway, it might not be a bad idea to turn off your water at the main and drain your pipes of water. This doesn’t take very long, and will help ensure that no matter how cold it gets, you won’t have any problems with your pipes freezing. If you choose to turn off the water to your house
, make sure that all of the water is drained from the pipes. Turn on all faucets and hoses and let all the water that’s currently in the pipes drain out.
Have Your Sump Pump Checked
If you choose not to turn off your water while you’re gone, you need to have your sump pump checked before you leave. The sump pump is designed to pump water out of the basement or crawlspace of your home. If there is a leak somewhere in your house, it’s probable that the water will collect in one of those places. A properly functioning sump pump will keep your basement from filling with water and keep the water damage to a minimum.
There are many things you can do to help make sure that your pipes don’t freeze and that your home is safe and secure while you’re away on your winter vacation. If you make an effort before you leave to take care of your pipes, you shouldn’t have any problems.