You just got the news that Hurricane Irma is heading your way. No one wants to leave their home for something like this, but you and your family’s safety comes first. Make your homecoming pleasant by ensuring that your plumbing is in top shape for the time that you’ll be gone.
Make a detailed checklist
Before anything else, make that checklist. It doesn’t pay to wander around the house haphazardly and account for looming issues as they occur to you––or don’t. Keep everything organized so that you don’t miss a thing.
Turn off the main water valve
The first thing you do is turn off the main water valve. If you happened to have left everything until the last minute and are only able to take care of one thing––this is it. Turning off the water supply to your house is your best chance of minimizing potential issues. In the event of a leak, no additional water will emerge if you shut off the main valve. If you need water for a sprinkler, for example, be sure to go to each appliance or room and turn off the water individually.
Make sure you have no leaks
Walk around and do a thorough inspection, taking care that there are no leaks. If you are in a house, be sure to look underneath it. If you have a basement, check there, too. Investigate any areas you know are exposed to water, including the washing machine, dishwasher, and any water heaters you installed. This also applies to the sinks, baths or showers, and toilets. Leave enough time to schedule a repair so you aren’t stuck with a lingering issue as you are on a flight.
Shift your home to low power
The rest of the remaining tasks are standard housekeeping chores. That said, it is easy to forget them if you’re in a rush. If you are busy planning and packing, call a plumber to give your house an inspection instead. Flush out your water heater––unless it is tankless. In either case, you’ll want to shift it into a low power or ‘vacation mode’ to save energy. In the event you are shutting off the main valve, you will not have to worry about this.
Clean your drains and avoid mold
Other tasks may seem nonessential when you’re able to attend to them on a regular basis, but they can add up into bigger problems if you are away for a while. Clean your gutters, disinfect any toilets, remove all perishable items from the refrigerator and either unplug it or keep sustainable items inside for more efficient power––additionally, shut off your ice maker. Turn off the sprinklers and clean out your drains to avoid a buildup of bacteria and, later, mold.
Be extra careful
When in doubt, proceed with caution. It is better to shut everything off, if you can, and gently open the valve on your return than risk the potential of a catastrophic emergency which is unattended. The location of the main valve can depend on what type of home you have. It is usually either a wheel with spokes you rotate right or a lever you make perpendicular to the pipe it is attached to. If you need instruction, call an expert.