How to Prevent Water Damage While on Vacation
Thursday, July 2, 2015
There is so much to think about before you go away on vacation, especially an extended vacation. There are necessities to buy, bags to pack, dogs to kennel, perhaps planes or taxis to schedule, even hair appointments and bank runs to make all before you go. Sure, most of us think to turn off the lights and lock the doors, but what about water damage? Do any of us think about how to prevent water damage while on vacation? Probably not. But we should. We all should.
Recently, Joe Taylor Restoration (JTR) received a call regarding water damage in Highland Beach, Florida. This condo had been recently purchased, and the homeowners were out of state when the loss occurred. Thankfully, the neighbors called the new owners to let them know of the potential for water damage in their unit after a pipe burst next door. The homeowners were quite nervous, not ever having dealt with water damage while on vacation. But the technicians at JTR put their minds at ease, restoring the condo while the homeowners were still away.
In the above scenario, perhaps the water damage could not have been avoided because the problem was actually with the neighboring condo. But what if the faulty pipe was yours and the loss could have been prevented? According to the USA Today and the professionals at Joe Taylor Restoration, property owners in the state of Florida can and should take the following steps to prevent water damage while on vacation:
Check your home for leaks before you leave. Look at the pipes under all sinks. The seals around your windows must be in good condition, and check that there are no dislodged or damaged shingles on your roof. Recaulk seals and replace shingles if needed.
Inspect the hoses that connect to major appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerator ice-makers. Make sure there are no kinks; replace any old or damaged hoses. Consider upgrading supply lines by replacing plastic/rubber with stainless steel.
Clear all the debris out of your rain gutters, and check the downspouts for any blockages.
Examine your sump pump and check that it is in good condition and clear of debris by filling the sump pit and running the pump. Listen to the motor for strange sounds and watch that the water is going outside. Install a battery-powered backup source in case there is a power outage while you are gone.
Ask someone to check your house periodically while you are gone. Either hire a service or give a trusted friend/ neighbor a key, any security alarm information, and a number where you can be reached just in case your property experiences an event while you are away.
Turn off the water at the main. Using the emergency cut-off valve outside your home (usually located in a home’s basement, garage or outdoors near the foundation), shut the water off from the source. Then, turn on your sink and bathtub valves until no water comes out and all air pressure is released from within the pipes.
Set Your Air Conditioning at 75 – 80 ̊. DO NOT turn your air conditioning off. This step has less to do with water damage and more to do with mold, but it is worth adding. Setting your air conditioning will reduce electric bills and prevent mold build-up on walls and carpets. In older homes with humidistats, change the setting to read 60, which will pull the humidity out of the air and protect against mold and mildew.
Although the homeowners in Highland Beach had an especially trying experience with water damage while they were out of town, the end result was a good one, thanks to Joe Taylor Restoration. Sara wrote this in her certificate of satisfaction: “I so appreciated the quick response and the continual updates from your technicians. This was a very difficult situation in that we had just bought the condo and were out of state when it happened. We felt so much better knowing a very professional team was on the job. Thank you!!”
For more information on how to prevent water damage while on vacation, as well as other kinds of damage, please also refer to the previous post Snowbirds Leaving South Florida: How to Prevent Fire, Mold and Water Damage. And do not hesitate to contact Joe Taylor Restoration is you are in need of water restoration services.