Plumbing Checklist for Snowbirds

In the weeks leading up to your migration south, there is much to be done. Shopping, packing, and a much-needed hair appointment (for some) make the checklist. As you prepare for your annual trip, make sure your home’s plumbing makes the list, too. Use this checklist to help prevent plumbing disasters while you’re away.

Set the Thermostat

Many homeowners try to save money in the winter by lowering the thermostat, but remember that the risk of frozen pipes in exterior walls is very high when you crank down the temperature. If you plan on being away for an extended period, it’s recommended to set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.

Protect Your Sump Pump

Neglecting the sump pump can mean coming home to a flooded basement. To ensure a dry basement and a stress-free transition back from vacation, clear out any debris in the sump pit and keep the pump plugged in (but be sure to remove the discharge hose to prevent freezing during the winter). For more protection, consider having a battery backup and an extra discharge hose handy in case of a power outage.

Turn Off the Main Water Valve and Drain Water

Water damage from a gushing pipe is one of the biggest concerns for homeowners leaving their house vacant in the winter. To prevent this, first locate and shut off the main water valve. Then, turn on all the faucets around the house to drain all water from the pipes. To ensure water-free pipes, you can even leave them open until you return home. If you want to take your pipe protection to the next level, you can use antifreeze to prevent frozen toilets. Once your pipes are completely drained, flush your toilet until there is no more water left. Then, fill it with antifreeze.

Prepare Outdoor Plumbing

Protecting the outside of your home is just as important as the inside. After the hoses have been drained and disconnected, remember to close the shut-off valve. This may be separate from the main valve for outdoor spigots, so make sure you consult a professional if you have questions.

Rely on Friends to Monitor

Once you’ve done all your preparation, make a backup plan with professionals or neighbors. Consider talking to your plumber about remote monitoring systems for safety and peace of mind. If you’re comfortable doing so, it’s a good idea to give a family member, neighbor, or friend a spare key so they can check on the home and help in case of an emergency.

When the time comes to head south for the winter, just remember to prepare! Using our plumbing checklist for winter trips will help keep your home protected until you return. Need help prepping your home for winter or have questions? Your friends at Robillard Plumbing are here for all your plumbing needs. Contact us to learn more.