Imagine coming home from a well-deserved vacation, only to find a flood or water damage in your home. It happens, and the culprits can be anything from a failed water heater to a leak in the roof. Whether frozen pipes in the winter that burst and send water spewing or a sump pump that quit working during a heavy summer storm, the damage caused while no one is home can run into many thousands of dollars and ruin furniture, flooring, appliances and even irreplaceable family photos and mementos. Before you pack the car, take steps to help ensure that your house is as safe as possible from a water-caused disaster:
1. Do a thorough check
Inspect the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, make sure that your doors and windows are sealed, and check that there are no potential problems with your water heater (telltale signs include cracks and rust). If it’s been more than a year or so since your water heater was flushed, consider doing that before you leave. Also inspect hoses connected to washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators for signs of wear. Lastly, check your roof and look for possible leaks and clean gutters and spouts.
2. Turn off your water main
Perhaps the best way to ensure that appliances, toilets or sinks don’t leak or cause damage is to cut off the water source. Not sure where your water main is? This is the time to find out. If you can’t turn off the main because you have an automatic sprinkler system or need to keep the water on for some other reason, at least cut off the water supply to various appliances by turning the shutoff valves clockwise.
3. Drain your pipes
If you’ve turned off the water main, drain the pipes by turning on the faucet until the water stops running. Not only will this ensure that your main is, in fact, off, but it clears your pipes of any water. This is especially important in cold weather, when water remaining in the pipes could freeze and possibly cause a burst.
4. Attend to your water heater
If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, you may want to turn your water heater off. Depending on the age, type and condition of the water heater, you can opt to turn it to “vacation” mode and shut off the cold-water supply instead. It’s important to follow manufacturer’s instructions when turning your water heater back on.
5. Have someone check in
In addition to making sure that you don’t come home to a water disaster, having a friend, neighbor or relative check in while you’re away can help ensure that mail or newspapers don’t pile up, that packages don’t sit on your doorstep and that your home looks lived in.
We have assisted hundreds of people throughout the New Jersey area with homeowner’s insurance claim issues. To learn more about how our knowledgeable NJ State water damage firm at Buividas Law Group can help you, please contact us online or call our office at (856) 428-6336 to schedule a free consultation.
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