Don't Forget To Prep Your Heating and Plumbing Before You Go!
Hey, snowbirds! Getting ready for winter vacation? Before going, don’t forget to prepare your heating and plumbing.
The cold season has arrived! And, if you’re like most snowbirds, you’re wasting no time in travelling to warmer weather. Sunshine and palm leaves can’t come soon enough!
But your return home could be disastrous if you don’t get your home plumbing and HVAC sorted out before you leave.
Don’t cut your vacation short this winter! Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating and Electric ensures your home is safe and well-cared for. So you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest!
While you’re creating your packing checklists, remember to make a separate list for home prep. This could include shutting your water off, lowering your thermostat or resetting your water heater.
Below, we’ll go over each of these steps and why they are crucial to your vacation prep.
Why Should You Prepare Your Heating and Plumbing For Winter Vacation?
Vacations should be relaxing. Not stressful!
But if you don’t properly prepare your home for an extended time away, stressful is exactly what it will be.
Your home is a fine-tuned system that keeps you and your family warm and safe. But it does much more than that!
Your heating and plumbing work together to
- Protect your home appliances.
- Prevent water damage.
- Support the structural integrity of your home.
- Safeguard your indoor air quality.
If one of these systems (i.e. your furnace or water heater) breaks while you’re away, your home will suffer!
Instead of taking a relaxing breather, you’ll have to cut your vacation short and pay off some expensive repair bills.
Not your ideal relaxing winter escape!
Preparing your home ensures,
a) Your home is well-cared for.
b) You don’t have to worry or stress about the what-ifs.
c) Your family has a warm and comfortable home to return to.
Here’s how to make that happen:
Your Winter Vacation Plumbing Checklist
1. Shut your main water supply off.
This is a crucial preliminary step that you don’t want to forget!
Shutting off your main water supply prevents your pipes from bursting - a costly and emotionally draining experience!
Burst pipes damage your plumbing system and can cause water damage in your home.
To shut off your water supply, locate your main water valve and turn it off.
2. Drain your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off your water supply, the next step is to drain your pipes This ensures there is no water left in your pipes - preventing them from freezing!
To drain your pipes, turn all your faucets on in the house until all the water drains. We also recommend keeping them turned on while you aren't home. This ensures any last droplets in your pipes can escape.
4. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater or set it to “vacation mode”.
Your hot water heater should remain on even while you’re away. But there are ways to ensure you don’t waste energy or money on heating water while it’s not in use.
First, you’ll want to lower the temperature of your water tank. You want it to be slightly warm but not any hotter than necessary. We recommend lowering it to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or the lowest available setting.
If your water heater has the option, we recommend setting it to “vacation mode” as well. This setting automatically manages the temperature of your water. This mode also protects against corrosion and mineral buildup in your water heater!
4. Install frozen pipe protection where necessary.
For extra precaution, we also recommend installing frozen pipe protection. This electric heat cable insulates your plumbing pipes from the inside out.
Where should you install heat cables?
- Exterior Walls
- Crawl Spaces
5. Install a water security system.
Another great way to safeguard your home from water damage is with a water security system.
Water security systems operate 24/7 with instant water detection and reactive security.
Our Flo Home Water Protection system has two parts - the Smart Water Detector and the Smart Water Shutoff.
The Smart Water Detector senses moisture or leaks. Examples include leaks in burst pipes, overflowing drains, appliance failures etc.
Since weather-related leaks are a common concern in Ontario, this device is especially beneficial.
The Smart Water ShutOff monitors your entire water supply system. This element can detect leaks and other vulnerabilities in all connected parts.
6. Disconnect, drain and put away all outdoor plumbing.
Homeowners should never leave outdoor plumbing fixtures running during the winter months. You should disconnect, drain and store all hoses and plumbing.
Caring for your outdoor plumbing is especially important if you plan to be away for an extended time.
7. Prepare your sump pump.
Your sump pump is your lifesaver. Without it, you could come home to a flooded basement!
Before you leave, take some time to properly prep your sump pump for the winter.
First, we recommend clearing out all debris from the sump pit.
Second, detach the discharge hose to prevent it from freezing.
Third, call a friend! Ask them to reattach the discharge hose if the weather starts warming up or rain is in the forecast.
8. Clear gutters and drainage spouts.
We typically include this step in our winter prep checklists. After all, it's crucial in preventing water damage in your home.
Once winter arrives, you never know when a surprise thaw could hit!
Before you head out, ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves, sticks and other debris. That way, water can freely flow out as needed.
Your Winter Vacation HVAC Checklist
1. Set your thermostat.
But none of these systems has to operate at full tilt if you’re not home.
We recommend lowering your thermostat to help reduce energy consumption. You can typically set it as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit, but no lower.
2. Make sure your heating system works properly.
If you’ve read our recent furnace maintenance checklist, then this step should be easy!
Check the pilot light, thermostat and air filter to ensure everything is in order.
Note: We recommend changing your filter every 30-90 days. If you’re unsure how long it’s been since the last change, now is the perfect time to install a new one.
3. Set a maintenance checkup with your local HVAC expert.
Have you signed up for your furnace maintenance plan with the Gravenhurst Heating team? Having your HVAC system tuned up before you leave is a great way to lower the risk of surprise breakdowns.
You can even schedule a maintenance checkup while you’re away! Just remember to have a close friend or family member available to stop by during the tune-up.
We also offer emergency heating service! So, if your friend notices your home is colder than usual, call us immediately!
Enjoy Your Vacation To The Fullest, Knowing Everything Is Safe at Home!
Nobody wants to spend their beach time worrying about all the what-ifs at home.
Our Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating and Electric team ensures your home is always safe and well-cared for. So you can really enjoy your vacation!
Need help prepping your heating and plumbing for your departure? Give us a call! You can reach our team at +1 705-687-3402.
Have questions? Send us an email at email@example.com.