The holiday season is in full swing, and there are a lot of people planning to go on vacation. We wanted to share a few great tips to consider before leaving your home. These tips can help avoid costly repairs caused by broken pipes as well as lower your energy and gas bills!
1) Shut off the Main Water Supply (and Automatic Ice Makers)
If a pipe were to burst in your home while you are away, literally thousands of gallons of water will pour into your home until the water is shut off. If you are gone for 10 days on a cruise, you would come home to a serious and costly mess. It is a really good idea to shut off the main water supply to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Houses in Kansas and Missouri are required to have main water supply shut off valves… if you don’t know where yours is located at, they are generally in the basement where the main water line from the city enters your home.
If you are going to be gone for more than a week, consider opening the cold water side of your faucets to purge water from the cold water supply pipes. The cold water supply pipes are more likely to freeze. Leave the hot water side closed to protect your hot water heater.
2) Lower the Temperature on your Hot Water Heater
Some people say that your hot water system could become damaged if you shut off the water supply. The heating element in your hot water heater must be submerged in water at all times. If the water were to leave the system, the element could burn itself out. That said, it is highly unlikely that the water in your hot water heater would get that low, especially if you are only going to be gone for a week or two.
It is still a good idea to lower the temperature on your hot water heater because it will save on energy costs. Some people have electric hot water heaters, but many in the Kansas City area are natural gas. Look at the temperature dial on your hot water heater and see if there is a “Vacation” setting. If there is, move the dial to that setting before leaving your home. If not, just lower the temperature to the lowest setting.
3) Adjust the Thermostat Based on the Season
You don’t need to keep your house as warm or cool when you are going to be gone.
In the winter, you should lower your thermostat to 60 or 65 degrees. This will keep your home warm enough that pipes won’t freeze, but will save on heating bills.
In the summer, you should raise your thermostat to 75-80 degrees. This will keep your home cool enough so that mold doesn’t become a problem, but will save on cooling bills.