Safeguarding Your Home with Pre-Vacation Plumbing Checks

Leaving for a holiday brings excitement, but have you ever returned to a flooded home? A single pipe leak can lead to massive water damage. This article guides you through simple pre-vacation plumbing checks to protect your home while you’re away.

Keep reading and learn how to avoid coming back to unwanted surprises.

Essential Pre-Vacation Plumbing Checks

Before you pack your bags and set off on holiday, checking your plumbing can save you from unwelcome surprises upon return. A quick inspection and simple steps can safeguard your home against leaks and water damage.

Inspecting Pipes for Leaks

Inspecting pipes for leaks forms a crucial part of pre-vacation plumbing checks. Look closely at all visible water pipes, especially those under sinks and in the basement, for any signs of moisture or drips.

Small leaks and corrosion might not seem like immediate threats but can quickly escalate into major issues if left unattended. Calling a professional plumber to repair any detected leak is vital to prevent potential plumbing disasters.

No matter how minor they appear, leaks pose a risk of causing significant water damage over time. This makes it essential to examine each pipe thoroughly before heading out on vacation.

Areas prone to leaks include joints and connections near appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and hot water heaters. Ensuring these spots are dry and intact helps maintain your home’s structural integrity and prevents unwanted mould growth during your absence.

Shutting Off Water Supply

Before heading off on holiday, it’s critical to turn off the main water valve, usually found under the sink or in the basement. This simple step is your best defence against flooding and water damage from a burst pipe or plumbing failure while away.

Ensuring this will protect your home and give you peace of mind during your vacation.

After shutting off the main water supply, take a moment to drain all water pipes, especially if you are leaving in winter months. Draining prevents any remaining water from freezing inside the pipes, which could cause them to burst open and lead to significant structural damage.

Although turning off the main supply won’t drain the system completely, doing so significantly reduces the risks of emergency plumbing issues upon your return.

Draining Exterior Hoses and Faucets

Draining residual water from your exterior hoses and faucets is crucial in safeguarding your home from water damage while you’re away. This task prevents any chance of frost damage during colder months and ensures that no unnecessary water leaks into your property, conserving energy and helping avoid costly repairs.

  1. Walk around the outside of your house to locate all exterior faucets. Identifying each point allows for a thorough inspection and ensures no faucet is overlooked during draining.
  2. Detach any hoses connected to these faucets. Doing so prevents water from being trapped inside the hose, which can freeze and cause the hose or faucet to burst.
  3. Open the faucets to let residual water flow out. Allow all remaining water to drain completely; this step might take a few minutes but is essential for removing any water that could freeze.
  4. Inspect drains and gutters near these areas. Ensure they are clear of debris to prevent potential blockages that could lead to basement flooding or damage to your plumbing system.
  5. Use an air compressor on a low setting (if available) to blow out any excess water from the lines connected to exterior faucets. This action adds an extra layer of protection against freezing temperatures.
  6. Check for leaks or drips in each faucet after draining them. If any leaks are detected, make arrangements for leak repair before you leave on vacation.
  7. Finally, insulate exposed pipes that lead to outdoor faucets, using foam covers or insulation tape as an added precaution against frost and freezing conditions while you’re away.

These steps will give you peace of mind, knowing that your home’s plumbing system is secure against unexpected weather changes and potential damages during your absence.

Ways to Ensure Your Home Plumbing Stays in Top Shape

Insulate your water supply pipes to guard against the cold of winter, which can lead to freezing and bursting. This step protects your home from potential water damage and contributes to energy conservation by maintaining a more stable temperature in your pipes.

Such insulation acts as a barrier, keeping the warmth in and the cold out, ensuring that your plumbing remains safe even when you’re away.

Install leak detectors around key areas such as under sinks, near the water heater, and around toilets. These devices monitor for moisture or unusual water flow, alerting you to possible leaks before they escalate into bigger problems.

Coupled with regular plumbing inspections focusing on taps, connective hoses, and visible piping for any signs of wear or damage, it ensures that small issues can be addressed promptly.

Maintaining this vigilance preserves the integrity of your plumbing system and heads off costly repairs down the line.

Additional Safety Measures

Discover other smart steps to boost your home’s safety while away, ensuring peace of mind on your holiday.

Setting the Thermostat and Checking the Water Heater

Before you jet off on your holiday, adjusting your home’s thermostat and giving the water heater a once-over are crucial steps to keep everything in order. This not only conserves energy but also ensures the safety and efficiency of your plumbing while you’re away. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Turn down the thermostat. Increase it slightly during the summer to prevent your home from overheating, and lower it in winter to avoid freezing pipes yet save on heating costs.
  2. Check the hot water heater’s thermostat setting. Experts recommend setting it at 120 degrees for optimal performance without wasting energy.
  3. Look for a vacation mode feature on your water heater. If available, use this setting before you leave to save energy costs, protect against freezing pipes, and extend its life.
  4. Inspect the water heater for any visible signs of leaks or damage. A small drip can become a major issue if left unattended for days.
  5. Drain excess water by flushing a few gallons from the tank through the drain valve to remove sediment build-up and enhance efficiency.
  6. Confirm that all emergency shut-off valves are accessible and functioning correctly in case of issues while you are away.
  7. Give the area around your water heater a quick clean-up—remove flammable materials and ensure proper ventilation to avoid hazards.
  8. Ensure that sump pumps in basements or crawl spaces work properly to prevent any unexpected flooding during heavy rains.
  9. In your absence, note important numbers for emergency contacts who can assist with plumbing issues.

These steps will help maintain your plumbing system’s health, saving you from returning to unwanted surprises after a relaxing vacation.

Investing in a Leak Detection System

Investing in a leak detection system offers exceptional security for homeowners, particularly those who love travelling or own holiday properties. These systems actively monitor the plumbing network for any signs of leaks, from dripping taps to hidden pipe bursts.

Upon detecting moisture where it shouldn’t be, they send immediate alerts to your phone or another device, allowing for swift action even when you’re miles away.

Hiring a licensed plumber to set up a smart leak detection system could save you thousands by preventing water damage before it spirals out of control. These devices conserve energy by pinpointing inefficiencies like running toilets and faulty sprinkler systems and safeguard valuable home assets against unexpected plumbing failures.

Opting for this tech-forward solution transforms basic plumbing maintenance into an automated and worry-free task, making it a top priority for keeping your home dry and secure while enjoying your vacation with peace of mind.


Before your holiday, remember that a plumbing check can save you from unforeseen headaches. Ensuring pipes lack leaks and taps are tightly turned will safeguard against unwanted water surprises.

Engage with this simple yet effective checklist; it’s the key to a peaceful vacation. Your home deserves as much care as your travel itinerary – don’t let plumbing woes disrupt your well-earned break.

For more detailed guidance on maintaining your plumbing system, visit our guide on how to ensure your home’s plumbing stays in top shape.


1. Why should I check my plumbing before going on vacation?

Checking your plumbing, such as inspecting for leaks in pipes, shower heads, and sprinklers, helps ensure home security by preventing potential water damage while away.

2. What are the key parts of a pre-vacation plumbing checklist?

Your plumbing checklist should include checking flapper valves in toilets to avoid unnecessary water use, ensuring p-traps have water to prevent odours, and flushing toilets to confirm they’re working properly.

3. How do I make sure my home’s plumbing is secure when I’m not there?

To safeguard your home’s plumbing during vacation, inspect all visible pipes for leaks, test your sump pump if you have one, and consider turning off the main water supply if no one is in the house.

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