While homeowners insurance claims for fire damage have declined—probably because of the decrease in cigarette smoking—claims for home water damage have soared. Travelers Insurance Company recently reported that home water damage is now ten times more likely than fire damage. What’s more, the average water damage claim now exceeds $6,000. Those are two good reasons why having a qualified professional plumber like Edwin Stipe, Inc. in Easton, PA to handle plumbing repair is an indispensable part of home maintenance.

There’s never a good time to experience home water damage. But a particularly bad time to have a major leak is when nobody’s at home to take immediate action and contact a plumbing repair company. The municipal water supply enters your home under pressure averaging between 40 and 80 p.s.i. A rupture or major leak in an indoor supply line, appliance or other source can rapidly inundate the premises with up to 500 gallons of water per hour. Should you happen to be away from home on vacation when it happens, the damage awaiting you upon return could be nothing short of catastrophic.

Radiant family at the beach

Here are some ways to avoid an unhappy homecoming when you return from vacation:

Shut Off The Main Water Valve

Shutting off all water flow into the house is the definitive prevention for water damage that could occur when you’re away. The main water shutoff valve may be located outside at the water meter or on a basement wall inside the house. Familiarize yourself with the location of the shutoff valve and how to turn it off. If a special tool is required to operate the valve, it should be kept nearby. Once a year, test the operation of the valve. If it’s frozen or hard to turn, don’t force it—contact a plumber.

Turn Off Individual Supply Valves

If for some reason turning off the main water valve isn’t practical (for example, the need to keep automatic lawn sprinklers supplied with water during summer) you can still reduce the home water damage potential by turning off valves at individual fixtures. Sinks and toilets typically have dedicated shutoff valves located below or behind the fixture. Also, don’t forget to turn off the hot and cold water supply valves behind the washing machine—the rubber supply hoses that feed the washer can suddenly rupture.

Drain The Lines

If you’re leaving home during winter when frozen pipes could be an issue, keep the household heat on and set to a low temperature, and have a trusted person check the house while you’re away. If you can turn off the main water shutoff valve, go one step further and open taps inside the house and faucets outdoors after the valve is turned off to allow residual water to drain out. Place a written note on the main shutoff valve that the faucets are open. (After a relaxing vacation, it’s easy to forget these things.)

Get Small Leaks Fixed Now

Minor pinhole leaks in water supply lines often conceal hidden internal corrosion that can result in a major rupture at any time. Don’t delay getting professional plumbing repair for nagging drips or leaks. A dribbling water heater is another example of a little annoyance that could become a big problem and inundate your house with water if the corroded tank suddenly fails.

You’ve worked hard and earned a relaxing vacation. Don’t spend it worrying about the condition of your home when you return. Before leaving town, become familiar with steps to prevent water damage.

Contact the qualified plumbers at Edwin Stipe in Easton, PA for a thorough inspection and plumbing repair to prevent minor drips from turning into major water damage while you’re away.