Unfortunately, we all know how quickly major disasters can happen in California. If you’re in the path of a wildfire, you may need to evacuate your home without very much warning. The best way to prepare for possible future evacuations is to know what to do before they happen. Evacuations will always be traumatic, but knowing that you’re doing the right thing could help give you at least some peace of mind.
One important thing to do before evacuating your home is protect your plumbing. By following these simple steps, you can maximize the chance your plumbing stays functional, even after a major disaster. Hopefully, these tips will help prevent your homecoming from adding any more stress to an already-troubling situation.
0. Prepare now.
This is “step 0” because you should do it before an evacuation is ordered. If you’re preparing to leave now, skip this step. Be safe!
Keep up with your plumbing maintenance. Check for plumbing leaks frequently, and patch them up immediately when you find them. Address clogs, sluggish drains, and other minor problems before they become serious. If your plumbing stays healthy, it will hold up better when you have to leave it alone for awhile.
1. Open up your dishwasher and washing machine.
Open your dishwasher and washing machine. Empty out anything inside either fixture to prevent it from rattling around and damaging the machinery. After you’ve emptied both machines, make sure you leave them open. Airing out the insides of the fixtures will help prevent mold from growing inside them while you’re away.
2. Drain your pipes.
Turn off your water main, then turn on all the faucets in your house. Once that water drains, there won’t be any water left in your pipes. This is important because it will prevent water damage if your pipes break while you’re away. If you have time, turn the faucets back off once you’ve drained the water. If you don’t have time, just remember to turn them off when you get back home!
3. Turn your water heater on “vacation” mode.
Most modern water heaters have a “vacation” mode for when you’ll be away from home for a long time. Check your owner’s manual to find out exactly where it is. Vacation mode suspends your water heater’s regular operation. It won’t take in water, heat up water, or send hot water through your pipes. Not only will this save you money, it’ll also help prevent water damage. Just don’t forget to re-activate your water heater when you get back home.
Taking these precautions before you evacuate will substantially help protect your home from damage. Taking preventative precautions before you need to evacuate is even better.
If you need help preparing your plumbing for emergencies, get in touch with Mike Diamond any time. We’re always happy to help. Stay safe!