My Vacation Checklist


“Hello, this is Bruce Sr with Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating… did you call for a plumber?”

“YES!!  I need help quick!  I just went next door to check on my neighbor’s house (it turned out they were on vacation for a couple weeks), and there is WATER running out under the garage doors and the front door!!!”

That was the beginning of one of the saddest Summer Vacation plumbing tragedies I’ve ever seen.  It turned out that the hot hose to the washing machine had bubbled and broke, and had leaked for about 30-hours before anyone saw anything, dumping about 18,000 gallons.

The entire main floor was ‘threshold deep’ in water, and the downstairs daylight basement (that opened onto the Mill Creek Golf Course) was about 4-inches deep.  The entire downstairs ceiling was soaked and had fallen onto the carpet and new slate pool table, and their real parquet floor was now cute little ‘cupped’ squares, floating around the whole downstairs like a mini-fleet of wooden shoes.

Many of us have lists we double-check before leaving our homes for any length of time.  Here’s the list I use when I go on vacation, (if no one is house-sitting), based on common sense and many years of seeing some pretty bad damage… 

Give a trusted neighbor…

  • A key.   Don’t hide a key; they can always be found
  • Their ‘Code’ for our Alarm System.
  • Our Itinerary.


  • Mail.
  • Paper.

Make sure the house looks normal from the outside, in regard to…

  • Shades drawn?
  • Car in driveway, or not.
  • Lawn maintained etc.

Turn off / disconnect…

  • The ringer on any landline phone.  Message centers should have volume all the way down.
  • Power to any small appliance; iron, toaster etc.
  • Stove & oven.
  • All wireless computer equipment; router, printers etc
  • Power to water heater (circuit breaker or gas shut-off).

 Shut off water supplies to the…

  • Washing Machine.  (Even the ‘braided stainless steel’ ones pop apart sometimes.)
  • Water Heater.  (Usually the valve on the right side pipe, right above it.)
  • Ice Maker.  (It should have it’s own shut-off; hopefully under the kitchen sink. If not, it should be behind the refrigerator; you’ll have to  pull it out.  Yes, it’s worth it. )
  • Dishwasher.  (It should have it’s own shutoff under the sink.)
  • Whole House… if you have cheap plastic shut-offs to fixtures (sinks, toilets), plastic risers or corrugated flexible risers to fixtures.

 Double Check…

  • All interior doors are as you want, (think of fire & alarm system issues).
  • All exterior doors and windows are locked.
  • All drapes and blinds are as you want.
  • Automatic Garage Door is unplugged.  (Remotes are easily defeated by crooks).
  • Automatic Timers on lights; one per level minimum.
  • All digital/computer equipment is as you want.
  • Temperature on Heating/Cooling System.  Do NOT turn off; adjust for median temp.  If you turn it off, humid muggy air will promote mold in the summer, and too cold in the winter will allow pipes to freeze on the outer walls of the house.
  • Refrigerator for food that will spoil
  • Large freezer, that it’s plugged in and closed safe & sound.
  • All garbage is emptied and taken out.
  • Valuables, firearms etc, that they are locked away in a safe.

 Then… lock the door on the way out…forget everything… and HAVE FUN!!!


One Response to “My Vacation Checklist”

  1. 1 Bill

    Bruce, I personally have installed a “water cop” in a clients home they are designed to prevent this and they got a discount from h.o insurance. B.D.J has the details on it. Its a GREAT device. Bill (journeymen plumber)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: