Want a Worry Free Vacation? Do these things before you go.

16Jul14

Most of us take summer vacations expecting to leave our worries behind, not worry about what we left behind and undone. In this reprise of our “Vacation Checklist” article, we’ll share how to make your home safe and secure before you leave on vacation, and why it’s so important.

“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 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.
Stop…
• 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 land line phone. Message centers should have volume all the way down.
• Power to any small appliance; iron, toaster etc.
• Stove and 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’ lines pop apart sometimes.)
• The water heater. (Usually the valve on the right-side pipe, right above it.)
• Ice Maker. (It should have its own shut-off; hopefully under the kitchen sink, but if not it should be behind the refrigerator; you’ll have to pull it out. Yes, it’s worth it. )
• Dishwasher. (It should have its 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 and 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!!!

Safety Beyond Vacation-Reviewing your vacation checklist is important before leaving the house for any length of time, but extensive water damage can occur even when you’re at home. A safety device is now available to help minimize and/or prevent water damage anytime. Installing an automatic shut-off valve will ensure that the water to your home or a specific fixture (such as a water heater or washing machine) is turned off as soon as one of the sensors comes in contact with water. Knowing you’re protected if there’s a water leak, even when you’re at work or asleep, is that extra peace of mind that every homeowner deserves.

Bruce Davis Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor

Bruce Sr is President of Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating,
a 60-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating
business in Lynnwood, Washington.

Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating Inc.
16614 13th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98037
800-972-7000

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