7 Steps to Avoid a Plumbing Disaster While Away on Vacay

Avoid Plumbing Disasters on VacationVacations are great, but returning home to a flooded house or another plumbing disaster is definitely not. Before you leave for several days at a time, take a few plumbing precautions to prevent a disaster. Simply checking on a few appliances before you leave will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle later. Follow these steps and enjoy the peace of mind on your next vacation.

Shut Off the Main Water Valve


Shutting off the main water valve takes seconds, but it is the single most important thing you can do to protect your home from water damage. If one of your appliances springs a leak, a washer hose bursts, or a toilet valve leaks, you won’t have water gushing for days. If a special tool is required to turn the valve on and off, it should be kept nearby.

TIP: Once a year, test the operation of the valve. If it’s frozen or hard to turn, don’t force it—contact a plumber.

Shut Off Individual Appliances if Main Valve Must Stay On


If you have to leave your water supply on, for instance, if you have a sprinkler system that you want to continue to water your lawn while you’re away, make sure to turn off the valves that supply the individual appliances. Include the toilets, washing machine, and individual sinks.

TIP:  Steel reinforced hoses are much safer than rubber hoses. They will not burst. Replace rubber hoses on your washing machine with steel reinforced hoses.

Drain the Lines in Wintertime


If you’re going on vacation in the winter, be aware that pipes can freeze. Make sure the temperature inside the house is no lower than 56 degrees and turn off the main water valve. After you turn it off, open the faucets indoor and the outdoor faucets as well to drain the water remaining in the pipes.

TIP: Leave yourself a note on the main water valve to remind yourself that the faucets are open.

Fix Small Leaks before You Leave


If you notice small drips or leaks, make sure to have them checked and fixed. Minor leaks in water supply lines are often a sign of corrosion you can’t see. This is like a time bomb waiting to burst just when the timing is worst. Pay attention to your water heater too. If there are signs of rust or leaking, the tank is probably corroded and could fail at any time leaving a giant mess.

TIP: Set your water heater to “vacation mode” to keep your heating bill down. Just remember to turn it back up when you return.

Test Your Sump Pump


If you have a sump pump, check to see if it works before you leave for your vacation. In case of heavy rain, you’ll want to be sure your sump pump can remove excess water and keep your lower level from flooding.

TIP: To test your sump pump, simply fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. Take the lid off of the sump pump pit and pour the water in. The sump pump should kick on immediately and drain the water in the pit. If it does not, your sump pump may be broken. Have it checked by a professional.

Check Drains and Garbage Disposal


Be sure to check all of your drains to be sure they’re free of debris and clogs. Turn on your garbage disposal and run some water to be sure there’s nothing left that could create a bad smell while you’re away.  

Tip: Don’t forget to empty all trash cans so you don’t come home to foul-smelling trash.

Have a Neighbor Check In

If you have a trusted friend or neighbor, ask them to take a look around your house every few days, to catch any plumbing emergencies. At the very least, make your neighbors aware of your absence so that when they find the sprinkler system leaking or when other emergencies pop up, they can call you to get it taken care of immediately.

TIP: Cancel your mail and newspaper service or have a neighbor pick it up for you so it is not so obvious that your home is empty.

With a plan in place, you can protect your home and keep your peace of mind while you’re away. Call us today at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online for help with your plumbing.

Is Your Home Safe? Do This Room-by-Room Safety Sweep

Home Safety Tips Room by Room

At Herrmann Services, we care about our customers. While we know a lot about heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical services, we know many of our customers don’t. That’s why we thought this blog about home safety was worth sharing. Please read it and share it especially with anyone you know who has small children in their home.

Common Home Accidents

According to the CDC, each day over 300 children between the ages of 0-19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries. These injuries are often caused by burns from hot liquids or steam, or from electrical items like curling irons or coffee pots. Electrical shock is also a common injury.

Tips for Protecting Children in Every Room of Your Home

Hidden dangers lurk in every room, so be sure to check all of the things on this list to make sure each room is safe.

Kitchen Safety Tips

Kitchen Safety Tips

  1. Prevent scalding by setting the water heater’s maximum heat at 120 F/49 C.
  2. Prevent electrical burns by keeping small appliances out of the reach of children, and away from the kitchen sink.
  3. Prevent scalding and burns by keeping the handles to pots and pans on the stove turned away from where little hands can reach them.

Bathroom Safety Tips

Bathroom Safety Tips

  1. Never leave a small child or baby unattended in the bathroom.
  2. Unplug hair dryers, curling irons, etc., when not in use, and keep away from the bathtub and sink.

Bedroom & Living Area Safety Tips

Living Room and Bedroom Safety Tips

  1. Make sure all cords from window blinds are out of the reach of children. These pose a strangulation hazard.
  2. Place outlet covers over all electrical outlets that are not in use.
  3. Make sure all electrical cords are undamaged, and replace them if they are.
  4. Avoid using extension cords.
  5. Avoid using space heaters.
  6. Keep curious babies away from outlets, cords, and electrical items, large and small, including televisions.

Overall Home Safety Tips

Home Safety

  1. Install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home. Test it and change batteries regularly (at least twice a year). Learn more about protecting your family from carbon monoxide here.
  2. If you notice an unusual odor, flickering lights, or power surges, have the home’s electrical system checked.
  3. In case of fire, develop an escape plan, establish a meeting point, and communicate and practice the plan with all family members.
  4. Teach your children proper emergency contacts, as well as how and when to call 911.

We hope these safety tips help keep your home and family safe from injuries and fire. Feel free to print these off for any first-time parents you may know.

Please call Herrmann Services if you need any heating, cooling, plumbing, or electrical help. Call us at (513) 407-5177 or contact us online to request service.