Going on vacation should be a period for relaxation and enjoyment, yet it often becomes a time when we forget about the upkeep of our homes. This oversight can turn into a crisis, especially if a plumbing issue arises. Luckily, a quick plumbing check before you head off can spare you both financial and emotional stress. Below are six items our JB plumber recommends you inspect before departing for your holiday:

Check for Pipe Leaks

Before you leave on vacation, check your plumbing for dripping faucets and water pipes that leak. A small drip from a pipe in your basement can waste hundreds of gallons before you return home. It’s not just a waste of water; it’s also a waste of money. You can avoid this problem by checking for leaks and fixing them. To do this, shut off the main water valve. Then turn on all faucets in your house and let them run for five to 10 minutes. After that, check all pipes to make sure they’re not leaking.

Make Sure the Sump Pump and Water Heater are Working properly

Your sump pump and water heater may be essential to keeping your basement dry when you’re away. Make sure they both work by checking your home for flooding or high water levels. If there’s no problem, leave the sump pump on a low setting so it kicks in if there’s a flood. If your water heater is electric, shut off the power and place an old towel under it so that if there’s a leak, you’ll be alerted to it by a wet towel.

Check Your Toilet for Leaks

When you flush your toilet, do you hear gurgling sounds? Or does it seem like the water inside the tank is running constantly? That means there’s a leak. Before leaving home, take off the lid of your toilet tank and check to see that the “float ball” (a small ball that rises in the tank) is centered over the opening of the overflow pipe, and adjust it if necessary. If your toilet still seems to be running constantly or making gurgling noises, look for a faulty flapper valve inside your tank and get it replaced before leaving on vacation.

Check Your Sump Pump Drain

If your sump pump drains into a bucket, or into the ground directly, check to make sure it’s discharging properly. If the discharge is blocked and water begins to back up in your home, you could have a serious problem on your hands. You can avoid this by making sure you leave a cleanout plug in the discharge line.

Put Your Water Heater on Vacation Mode

Water heater problems are a big concern for people on vacation. If you leave town, your water heater will use less energy and prevent scalding hot water from being wasted. After shutting off the power to the water heater, put it in “vacation mode” by turning down the temperature setting as low as possible while still providing enough hot water for washing dishes and brushing teeth. This setting will reduce energy costs and prevent scalding hot water from being wasted.

Turn Off The Water

It’s common for leaks to start when you turn on your water. Make sure it’s turned off before leaving town by turning the main water valve (located under the sink in most homes) all the way off and making sure there are no drips after that. If you have a bad leak, fix it before turning on your water again. You can avoid wasting water and money by turning it off before you leave.


If you’re going on a vacation, make sure to do some preventative plumbing maintenance before your departure. It may seem like an inconvenience now but it will save you from the hassle of dealing with clogged pipes or burst water lines during your time away and can even help avoid costly repairs when you return home.