Before you head off on vacation, run through these simple preventative measures to ensure you don’t come home to a plumbing disaster.
Avoid washing machine problems
A blown washing machine hose is a small problem that can turn into a much bigger one if it isn’t detected before you go away. Extra loads of laundry following outdoor fun put extra strain on hoses that could lead to trouble.
Before leaving, inspect hoses for signs of damage like leaks, cracks or bulges. Tighten connections and check the floor behind the machine for drips.
Even if there are no visible signs of stress, it’s a good idea to replace washing machine hoses every five years no matter what. A new hose now is a lot cheaper than repairing flood damage.
Nip invasive tree roots in the bud
Late spring and early summer is the time of year when trees and shrubs go on a major growth spurt. One of their favorite destinations to expand is into your sewage pipes. A pesky bush in search of nutrients, moisture and oxygen can exploit even the slightest crack in a sewage line.
The first sign of invasive roots is excessively slow drains or, in extreme cases, toilet residuals backing up into the tub.
Never ignore issues related to black water removal as human waste can be extremely toxic. If you fear there’s a blockage in your pipes, don’t wait till you get back from vacation to call in a plumber for a professional inspection.
Train the kids on proper flushing etiquette
With the kids home from school, you’re more apt to be dealing with clogged toilets in the summer.
Most clogs are caused by excessive toilet paper usage or flushing materials not designed to go down the toilet. Teaching children to use a modest amount of toilet paper and not to flush any other materials is the best way to avoid breaking out the plunger.
Check the sump pump
If your basement is protected with a sump pump, you’ll want to test your system a week or two before any extended vacation. Pour a pitcher of water down your sump pit to make sure everything is in working order in the event that a big storm rolls through while you’re away.
Don’t put this off until the day before you leave or you won’t have time to make any necessary repairs.