If you own a summer vacation home in the north, then you’ve had the nightmare: you arrive in late spring, excited for your first long weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle. You unlock the door, open it up and discover your home is completely ruined. Everything in the home is wet, there is mold everywhere…it’s a total loss. Sadly, this happens every year to vacation home owners and the process of picking up the pieces can be taxing, especially since it’s not your primary residence and much of the coordination will be done remotely.
13 Steps You Should Take to Prevent Water Damage
Even if the home is occupied year round, there are many things you can do to prevent water damage in your home. We’ve created a useful tool that lets you explore the things that can go wrong as well as steps you can take to prevent them from failing that you can see here. But if the home isn’t occupied for half the year and it’s subjected to cold winters, making sure you take these steps to prevent water damage takes on an even greater urgency.
Below are steps you should take before you leave for the winter to protect your home’s plumbing systems from failing during the winter:
1. If you have a water pump system, turn off the electricity to the system.
2. Turn off the energy source to your water heater. If it’s electric, turn off the electricity. If it’s gas, shut off the gas supply line servicing the water heater.
3. Shut off the main water supply line servicing the home.
4. If your home has a pressure tank, drain all the water from the system.
5. Slightly open all faucets in the home.
6. Disconnect any hoses hooked up to outside faucets.
7. Make sure the drain valve next to your main water shut off is open.
8. Flush all toilets and pump out any water in the holding tank.
9. If your showers have any flexible hoses, make sure those are drained as well.
10. Open the diverter valve on the shower head so that any additional water is drained out.
11. Does your home have a water softener system? If so, make sure that is drained properly. Click here for a quick tutorial on winterizing your water softener.
12. Drain your hot water heater.
13. Last but not least, once all of these steps have been completed, hook up an air compressor to your plumbing system and blow any remaining water out of the plumbing lines.
It’s Worth the Piece of Mind!
Taking the steps above may seem like overkill, but when it comes to piece of mind, doing them are worth their weight in gold. Should your home suffer significant water damage that goes untreated for months, you could end up with well over $100,000 in damages. In fact, in many cases homes are deemed total losses given the extent of damage that can occur over a period of months. Not only will the home’s support structure not be safe, but you’ll likely have black mold everywhere and most of your home’s electrical systems will be beyond repair.
Don’t be one of the thousands of vacation home owners that will return to their favorite sanctuary next spring to a complete nightmare. Take the steps above and ensure you return to the safe, healthy home you’ve always enjoyed!