Some Pre-Vacation Plumbing Chores for Peace of Mind

Before Phoenix residents head off for summer vacations, it’s an excellent idea to get the plumbing in order first. A bad plumbing disaster while the homeowner is away can be expensive and cause serious damage to the home or landscaping. But, house sitters can also be expensive. Valley plumbers are sometimes asked how a homeowner can prevent or minimize plumbing disasters while they’re away.

Water sensors

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If a homeowner is worried about the water heater and has a Smart Hub, a Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor can be purchased for under $40, which will send a message to a smartphone instantly if the water heater leaks.

If the home doesn’t have a hub and the owner doesn’t want one, the Proteus water detector uses their wifi and sends a text or email if there is a leak. It will run about $100.

Flexible steel appliance lines

If you have plastic appliance lines running to your washer, dishwasher, or refrigerator, this might be the time to switch them to flexible steel lines to prevent a leak mishap. It doesn’t take long and the peace of mind makes it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

Turn the water heater to ‘vacation mode.'

Many gas water heaters feature a vacation mode. Electric water heaters can be turned to the lowest possible setting (if they aren’t already).

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Shut off the water valve

If a pipe bursts or there is another plumbing issue, if the water valve is off, it can prevent a flood. While the water heater may still be able to leak, there is a massive difference between forty or fifty gallons and an unlimited supply. Some people even shut off the water heater and bleed the lines in case a pipe breaks. (if you’re one of those people, please turn on the bathtub faucet when you fill the lines up again.) What about those who have an automatic sprinkler system or irrigation? A separate valve to the house solves that problem.

Making neighbors aware

The homeowner should ask neighbors, in a reciprocal agreement, to keep an eye out for trouble.
If the sprinkler system springs a leak or someone leaves a flyer for pizza delivery on the front door, a neighbor can handle those incidentals before they turn into a massive water bill or break-in alert for burglars.

Clean appliances

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The three appliances which cause the most odors when a home is vacant for a while are the refrigerator, the garbage disposal, and the dishwasher. Cleaning these three will minimize the potential for mold, rot, and pests while the family is away. It is also advisable to take out the trash and leave the lid up on the washing machine.

As a bonus, take a tissue and use it to check for moisture beneath each of the valves under every sink in your home. If you find a little moisture, there is a slow leak developing and having it repaired before you go will prevent it from causing damage while you’re away.


A vacation is much more enjoyable if plumbing and other disasters are avoided or minimized. While a homeowner can’t prevent every mishap, a few simple precautions can make a world of difference, both in the amount of damage an incident can cause and in peace of mind.