Plumbing 101: Plumbing Tips When Leaving Your Home For Long Periods of Time
Palm Beach County is a beautiful place to live. So much so that many people have second and third homes here. A Common question I always get asked is “What do I do with my water when I leave for weeks or months at a time?” This is a great question and one that should not be taken lightly. The average cost per water damage claim is well over $15000. The amount of claims seem to be rising each year as well. There are many factors as to why that is but for many owners these potential nightmares can be avoided. The biggest tip I can give an owner to avoid unexpected water damage is to know the basics to your plumbing system. Knowing how the water runs throughout your house can be vital in preparing to leave your home for long periods of time.
Find out where the main water feed is coming into the house and locate the main shut off valve. The main shut off valve is what controls the flow of water to your entire house. In Palm Beach County they are usually located on the exterior of the house or near the water heater. Not only should you locate the main shut off valve but you should test it to make sure it’s closing all the way off, allowing no water to pass. This is very important because when you leave for extensive periods of time you should always turn off the water to your home. In doing this, your plumbing system only has what can fill the lines and that’s it. You can take it one step further by bleeding all the lines once the water is off. Bleeding the lines is when you relieve the pressure in the lines through fixtures throughout the house. A ½”water line produces an average of 14 Gallons Per Minute or 840 Gallons Per Hour under 20-100Psi. That is a lot of water in a quick amount of time. You can see why water damage cost are staggering because of the amount of water that can fill your home is such a small amount of time.
Lastly, I like to suggest to turn off the power or gas to your water heater. For electric heaters the reason I say this is because a water heater needs to be filled for it work properly. If the tank is empty or partially filled, that creates an electrical issue. The power to the heater can cause a breaker to trip or even worse, an electrical fire. A gas line to a heater, much like a water line, can have a leak so it is always good to turn the gas off as well.
When turning the water back on to your home, always open the valve very slowly. Palm Beach County has anywhere between 65-80psi, which is a lot of pressure. Introducing water back into empty lines should be done with caution. Make sure, once the water is back on, to check all your water fed appliances and plumbing fixtures. Make sure there are no leaks and that nothing is running. Once you have done that then it is time to enjoy your beautiful home once again.