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3 Ways To Ensure Your Vacation Home Avoids Water Damage This Winter

by Neil Craig

If you own a vacation home that you only use occasionally during the winter time, you risk your home sustaining water damage if you don't take the proper steps to protect it. Here is what you need to do if you don't plan on using your vacation home until the spring to ensure that it doesn't sustain water damage while vacant.  

Protect Your Pipes

The first thing you need to do is make sure that all of the pipes into your home are properly protected. If your pipes are not insulated, make sure you give yourself some time during your next trip up to your vacation house to insulate your pipes.

Insulating your pipes is a relatively easy process. All you really need to know is the size of your pipes, which you can find out by wrapping a tape measure around them. Once you have this information, head on down to your local home improvement store and purchase some foam insulation and heat tape for your pipes. The insulation should just slip over your pipes for a snug fit. You can ensure that it is secure by wrapping heat insulation tape over the foam as well.

Insulating your pipes will help keep them warm during the winter and will prevent them from freezing and bursting while you are away.

Protect Your Water Heater

You should also insulate your water heater as well. In order to insulate your water heater, you'll want to purchase a water heater insulating blanket kit. You will need to measure around your water heater to determine what size insulation kit you need to purchase.

Your kit should include installation instructions. Basically, you'll wrap the blanket around the heater, cut away any excess insulation, and secure it in place with electrical tape. This will keep your water heater warm and will reduce lost energy during the winter months.

Turn Off Your Water

If you are not going to be visiting your vacation home at all during the winter months, the safest thing for you to do is turn off your water. You can turn off your water supply at the water main for your house. This should be located near your water meter. All you have to do is turn the valve to the off position. If you can't locate the water main for your house, you can call your water provider and see if they can come out and turn the water off for you.

After you turn off the water, you'll want to let all your faucets run for a few minutes. That way, any water that is left in the pipes will be expelled and will not sit in your pipes all winter, freezing and expanding, and possible causing water damage to your vacation home. Once the water stops flowing, turn off the faucets. You can also turn off the water supply to each faucet by turning the water supply valve under the faucet to the off position. 

If you keep your pipes and water heater well insulated, and turn off the water supply to your vacation home, your vacation home should be able to make it through the winter months without a pipe bursting and water damage ensuing.