Vacation homes should be a relaxing place to escape to stresses of day to day life. Nothing can ruin this relaxation quite like mold setting up shop while you were away. Having to get your home-away-from-home remediated for mold is no way to spend your vacation, and the best way to avoid mold is to prevent water damage to your home. With this in mind, here are 5 steps you can take to help avoid unwanted moisture getting into your vacation home once your vacation has come to a close.
1. Turn Off the Main Water Valve to the Home
The simplest method to avoid any water damage while your vacation home is vacant is to turn off the water at the main valve. With this valve shut off, water will not enter the home. Stopping the flow of water through your property is the most effective way to prevent leaks.
When you turn off your water, be sure you remember to tell anyone who will be using your home that the main valve is off, as well as where the main valve is, in order to allow water to reach the home once the home is no longer vacant.
2. Check Appliance Supply Lines
Be sure and check all of your major appliances’ supply lines. If the home isn’t going to be completely vacant, shut off the water supply line to all major appliances (everything from toilets to washing machines to ice makers) that won’t be in use. Shutting off the water flow to appliances that won’t be in use is a great way to help guard against moisture getting where it shouldn’t
Additionally, if any of the appliances have plastic supply lines, consider upgrading to stainless steel supply lines. Plastic lines are more likely to rupture and lead to water damage/mold, and at under $20 to upgrade, making the change will give you more peace of mind than headache.
3. Inspect the Gutters
You’ll want to ensure that the home’s gutters are completely clog-free, and that downspouts empty out an appropriate distance from the home, roughly 10 feet. Clogs can lead to water entering the home through the roof, and downspouts emptying too close to the home can lead to flooding too close to the home, increasing the risk of moisture finding its way into the structure and setting up a mold-friendly atmosphere.
4. Consider Temperatures While You are Away
If freezing temperatures may occur while you are away, frozen pipes could leave you with an unpleasant surprise when you return. Shutting off the main valve or the supply lines will do some amount prevention with regard to damage from freezing. For further protection, make sure the heater is never set below 60 degrees, as this can lead to frozen/broken pipes.
5. Arrange For Periodic Check-Ups
If it is possible, one of the best ways to mitigate water damage and mold risk is to arrange for someone to periodically stop by and check the state of things at your vacation home while you are away. This will be someone you will want to know the location of the main water valve, should an emergency arise that requires water getting to appliances.
During a check up, gutters and appliances alike should be inspected, to ensure things are still in good shape to prevent water problems. These checks are also important because if any leaks have occurred, you will know about them sooner rather than later and can take steps early to eliminate water damage and prevent mold from lying in wait for your return next vacation.