Heading out of town for the holidays? Don't let your home be fully powered in your absence.
"Many people will be traveling over the next couple of months to spend time with their families," says Max Rose, owner of Four Seasons Plumbing. "There are a few measures they should take that will help them save on utilities, avoid frozen pipes and prevent unpleasant smells while they are away."
Four Seasons Plumbing offers the following tips to homeowners looking to ensure their home is guarded against plumbing disasters, and saving on energy costs.
Keep the heat on – When traveling, it's tempting to turn the heat off. This is prudent for saving money on utilities, but Rose recommends homeowners keep the thermostat above 55 degrees so pipes don't freeze and burst while they are on a holiday vacation. That will still save on the monthly energy bills, even if the heat isn't turned off completely. Those who live in areas that experience frequent power outages may want to keep the thermostat at a higher temperature.
Turn on the water heater's vacation mode – There's no need for hot water if no one is home to use it. Switching a water heater to vacation mode will save on gas or electricity. Otherwise, homeowners are paying to keep water warm that won't be used for several days.
Clean drains – Wipe out drains and pour a mixture of warm water, vinegar and baking soda into them to prevent bacterial and fungal build-ups that can cause unpleasant smells. Likewise, flushing a garbage disposal with the vinegar-baking soda mixture will help keep pests from snacking on any bits of food left in the disposal.
Turn off the water supply – Some homes have an emergency water shut-off valve in a convenient location that can be used to shut off the water supply. For those with a less-accessible shutoff valve, special tools can be inexpensively purchased and used to turn the water off at the water meter. Doing so can save money on utilities while also mitigating the risk of a pipe freezing and either leaking or breaking while homeowners are away.
Close and secure crawl space doors and vents – An open vent or door to the crawl space will allow cold temperatures into areas where water pipes are, which can result in frozen and burst pipes. Making sure all doors and vents are closed and secure will prevent this from happening.
Insulate well heads and remove outdoor hoses – This will protect them from freezing, expanding and breaking while the homeowner is away.
"These tips can lower your home's electricity, water and gas consumption, while also helping to prevent an untimely plumbing leak," Rose says. "Nobody wants to come home to find that due to a frozen pipe, hundreds of gallons of water have been leaking in their yard—or worse, their home—for days on end."
Source: Four Seasons Plumbing
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