Pre-Vacation Plumbing Checks for Home Safety

Before setting off on a holiday, the safety of your home can weigh heavily on your mind. Did you know that undetected water leaks are one of the top culprits for domestic damage during vacations? Our guide will walk you through simple steps to secure your plumbing and give you peace of mind while away.

Read on to safeguard your sanctuary!

Essential Pre-Vacation Plumbing Checks

Before jetting off on your holiday, it’s crucial to perform several essential pre-vacation plumbing checks. These precautionary steps help prevent any water-related mishaps that could dampen your return home, ensuring the integrity and safety of your property’s plumbing infrastructure while you’re away.

Inspecting Pipes for Leaks

Start your pre-vacation plumbing checks by examining all visible pipes for signs of leaks. Look carefully under sinks, in the basement, and in crawl spaces where exposed pipes tend to be.

Small drips or moisture can signal a problem that could escalate into serious water damage while you’re away. Using a flashlight, check p-traps beneath drains and search for wet spots or puddles on floors.

Pay special attention to areas around your washing machine, dishwasher, and hot water heater, as these fixtures are common sources of unnoticed leaks. If any dampness, rust or signs of mildew catch your eye, act swiftly by calling a plumber to fix the issue before it becomes an emergency.

Regular inspections form part of effective plumbing maintenance, which safeguards your home against flood prevention troubles.

Shutting Off Water Supply

Shutting off the water supply is a critical step to ensure home safety while you’re on holiday. This action helps prevent flooding and water damage from unnoticed leaks.


  • Locate the main water valve, typically where the main water line enters your home. Once you find it, turn it clockwise to close it completely.
  • Confirm that you’ve successfully shut off the water by checking taps inside the house. They should stop running after a few seconds once the valve is off.
  • Drain all pipes after turning off the main valve by opening taps and flushing toilets to clear any remaining water in your plumbing system.
  • Attend to your outdoor taps and sprinkler systems by removing hoses, turning off valves, and draining them to prevent freezing or bursting.
  • Inspect your sump pump if you have one; ensure it’s operational even when the main supply is cut off to deal with any potential groundwater ingress.
  • Consider adjusting your water heater settings or switching it to ‘holiday mode’ if available. This step saves energy while protecting the appliance during an extended absence.
  • Test for slow leaks by checking your water meter before and after two hours when no water is being used. If there’s a change, investigate for possible leak repair before leaving.
  • Ensure appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines are fully turned off; any residual water in these devices could cause issues if they activate without incoming fresh water.

Draining Exterior Hoses and Faucets

Before your holiday, taking a few moments to drain your exterior hoses and taps can save you from potential plumbing disasters. This simple act helps prevent water from freezing inside them, which could otherwise lead to expensive repairs.

  • Locate all outdoor hoses connected to your home. Disconnect each one carefully to avoid damaging the hose or the tap.
  • After removal, drain any remaining water from the hoses. Lay them out straight and allow them to empty completely before storing them in a dry place.
  • Turn off the exterior tap’s shutoff valve if accessible. It’s usually inside your home, near the outdoor spigot that exits the wall.
  • Open the outside taps to let water flow out. Any trapped liquid will be released, preventing it from freezing within the pipes.
  • Check that each tap has been fully drained and no water dribbles out when left open; even small amounts can become problematic when temperatures drop.
  • Insulate taps with covers designed for this purpose. These can be found at most hardware stores and provide extra protection against frost.
  • If you have a sprinkler system installed, make sure also to drain it thoroughly according to manufacturer instructions. This prevents burst pipes underground, which are difficult and costly to fix.

How to Keep Your Home Plumbing in Top Shape

Regularly maintaining your home plumbing is crucial to ensure its longevity and functionality. Inspect visible pipes periodically for leaks, which can cause significant water damage and waste valuable resources.

Get into the habit of cleaning tap aerators and shower heads to prevent clogs that disrupt water flow. If you live in an area with cold winters, insulating your pipes becomes necessary; it prevents them from freezing and potentially bursting, leading to costly repairs.

Teach family members about basic plumbing care, such as avoiding pouring grease down the sink and what should not be flushed down the toilet – these simple practices will help avoid blockages.

Encourage everyone to report drips or leaks immediately to fix them before they worsen. Test flapper valves in toilets regularly to ensure they seal properly after flushing; this prevents constant running that racks up water bills unnecessarily.

Monitoring your water heater’s performance is also advisable — set it on holiday mode when away for extended periods to conserve energy while protecting the system from potential issues.

Additional Safety Measures

4. Additional Safety Measures: Explore how setting your thermostat effectively and considering a leak detection system can significantly enhance the security of your plumbing infrastructure while you’re away, bringing peace of mind to your well-deserved break.

Setting the Thermostat and Checking the Water Heater

  • Adjust the thermostat to prevent pipes from freezing in cold weather, but set it low enough to conserve energy. A moderate temperature keeps things safe without running up your bill.
  • Inspect your water heater for any malfunction, such as leaks or strange noises, which could indicate a problem that might worsen during your absence.
  • Test the temperature and pressure relief valve on your water heater to confirm it’s working properly; this is crucial for preventing dangerous pressure build-ups.
  • Clear the area around your water heater of flammable materials to reduce fire risk, ensure good ventilation, and place a carbon monoxide monitor nearby if you have a gas heater.
  • Switch the water heater to holiday mode if available; this setting keeps the system operational at a lower temperature, saving energy while protecting against moisture issues like mould and mildew.
  • Make sure all safety devices on the unit are functioning correctly, and consult your manual or a professional if you’re unsure how to perform these checks effectively.

Investing in a Leak Detection System

Investing in a leak detection system before you head off on vacation is a savvy move to ensure your home’s safety. These innovative devices work tirelessly, monitoring your property for any signs of water intrusion.

They can save homeowners from costly repairs by catching leaks early, often before they spiral into disasters. Landlords and property managers find these systems especially useful as they provide real-time alerts and can be monitored remotely.

Incorporating leak detection sensors into your plumbing checklist adds an extra layer of protection against the havoc water damage can cause. Not only do they offer peace of mind, but installing such systems could also mean lower insurance premiums – a bonus that makes the investment even more worthwhile.

Simple to install and cost-effective, leak detectors are essential tools in safeguarding your home from unwanted moisture that leads to mould, mildew, and structural damage while you enjoy your time away without worry.

Enlisting Help During Your Absence

Secure peace of mind by arranging for someone to oversee your home’s plumbing integrity while you’re away, ensuring swift action can be taken and allowing you to relax on holiday fully.

Requesting a Friend or Neighbour to Check on the House Periodically

Enlist a dependable friend or neighbour to swing by your home while you’re soaking up the sun. They can monitor things, ensuring pipes stay leak-free and systems like the water heater function correctly in vacation mode.

Hand over your emergency contacts—both yours and the plumber’s—so they’re prepared for any unforeseen plumbing hiccups. This person can also help deter potential burglars by collecting mail and making the house look like it is lived in.

Give them a walkthrough of what to look for: signs of leaks, the sound of running water from toilets or appliances, and any unusual smells that could signal a sewer problem. Show them how to test sump pumps by pouring water into the pit or checking sprinklers for proper operation.

Their vigilance is vital for preventing mould and mildew growth, which thrive in undisturbed damp environments—a common issue if small leaks go unnoticed during lengthy absences.


Before jet-setting off on your holiday, remember to tick all the boxes on your plumbing checklist. Take these steps seriously to safeguard your home against unwanted water-related surprises.

Ensure every faucet and pipe is leak-free, your water supply is secure, and appliances are in check. Confidence in your home’s safety means relaxing and enjoying that well-earned break.

For more detailed guidance on maintaining your plumbing system, read our feature article “How to Keep Your Home Plumbing in Top Shape“.


1. Why do I need a pre-holiday plumbing checklist?

Before you head off on holiday, it’s smart to check your home’s plumbing to avoid emergencies like leaks that could cause mould and mildew.

2. What should I inspect in my water heater before leaving for the holiday?

Inspect your water heater for any signs of leakage or damage, and consider setting it to “holiday mode” to save energy while you’re away.

3. Can leaving my water pipes unchecked cause problems when I’m on holiday?

Yes, unchecked water pipes might freeze or leak while you’re gone, leading to serious issues in your absence, so give them a quick inspection beforehand.

4. Do I need to worry about my waste disposal unit before going on holiday?

Absolutely – run some cold water through it and ensure nothing is left inside that could rot or smell while you enjoy your time away.

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