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Preparing Your Home For an Extended Vacation – Don’t Forget These Tips!

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

The best reason for preparing your home before a long vacation is so you won’t spend valuable vacation time worrying about what’s happening back home. A vacation should be a relaxing escape from the routine concerns of daily life. Don’t ruin the occasion by fretting over events that might be occurring in your absence because you didn’t make proper preparations before you left. Many possible scenarios can be entirely prevented—or at least made very unlikely—by taking these simple steps before you leave.

  • Turn off the main water valve. A ruptured pipe is a bad event anytime. If it happens while you’re away for an extended period, it means catastrophic water damage. Check the location of your main water shutoff valve now and test it to verify that it turns freely. If it’s stubborn, don’t force it: call a plumber.
  • Program your thermostat. Most digital thermostats have a “Vacation” option that maintains the house at a consistent temperature, 24/7. In most cases, 55 to 60 degrees is recommended for an unoccupied house to avoid damage and reduce heating costs.
  • Set the water heater. Most gas-fired water heaters today also have a “Vacation” setting that keeps the water at a reduced temperature—usually around 50 degrees.
  • Put lights on a timer. Maintain a lived-in look to discourage potential trespassers. Set lights in different parts of the house on a timer and use the “Random” setting so lights aren’t turning on and off at the same time every day.
  • Maintain the lawn. If you’ll be gone long enough that grass grows noticeably in your absence, have the lawn cut while you’re away. Overgrown lawns announce that the house is vacant and attract burglars.
  • Leave contact info and a spare key. Give a trusted neighbor or nearby relative information about where you can be reached in case of an emergency. Also, consider leaving a key in the event access is required to the house for any reason.
  • Clean out the refrigerator. Any perishables that will spoil during the time frame you’re away should be discarded now, before you leave.

The 6 Areas of Your Home Most Likely to Have a Water Leak

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

water leakWater on the move inside a structure often seeps far from where the leak actually occurred. While no room is therefore totally immune to water damage, some spaces are definitely more leak-prone than others. Here are six locations most likely to be the point of origin for leakage.

Roof leakage into the attic often goes unnoticed. By the time it’s obvious, mold growth is established and wooden attic structure as well as insulation may be permanently damaged. Inspect the attic regularly and don’t ignore signs such as dark spots appearing on ceilings in rooms below.

All water supply lines eventually lead to bathrooms. Leakage may appear as dripping or seepage at under-sink or toilet valve connections. Leaky shower stalls gradually rot the subfloor beneath and penetrate ceilings below. A clogged, overflowing toilet is a costly damage clean-up—make sure flushing is complete before leaving the bathroom.

Chronic leaks under the sink and disposal cause ongoing damage and may precede a more major failure that includes severe water inundation. Remove the dishwasher kick plate, too, and look underneath for chronic leakage from the pump or connections that may rot the floor. Check the icemaker water line connection on the rear of the refrigerator.

Laundry Room
If the washer utilizes rubber hot/cold water supply hoses, be aware that these can rupture without warning and flood the house. Replace with braided stainless steel lines, ASAP. Always monitor the unit in operation—never leave the house or go to sleep while the washer is running.

Utility Room
Typical water heater lifespan is less than 10 years. Leakage is usually the first sign of a failing unit and, potentially, an impending tank rupture that could cause severe water damage. Call a plumber immediately if you note leakage or pooling around the unit.

Many water supply lines are routed through the basement. Dripping pinhole leaks and/or more subtle signs like mineral residue on pipes caused by seepage isn’t “normal.” Consult a plumber. In certain locales, rising groundwater infiltrates the basement through the foundation. Installation and maintenance of a sump pump is critical.

Why Even Minor Water Leaks are an Immediate Problem

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

water leakMinor leaks in household plumbing often don’t stay minor. Pipe ruptures which seem to come as a surprise frequently exhibit advance warnings such as dripping and seepage at joints. These red flags can be easy to miss—or simply dismiss as “normal.” However, once a leak becomes a pipe rupture, water damage resulting from a household supply line under typical pressure of 40 to 60 pounds per square inch rapidly becomes both extensive and expensive.

Plumbers agree: no leakage from water supply lines is acceptable. Minor leaks are often indicators of more comprehensive issues that inevitably result in a serious pipe rupture that causes significant damage. All leaks must be evaluated to determine the extent of the issue, then properly repaired. Some of the causes of small leaks that may lead to big water damage include:

  • Internal pipe corrosion. All metal pipes are susceptible to corrosion over time. Corrosion occurs from the inside out, therefore, external pinhole leaks are often the visible evidence of significant deterioration occurring inside the pipe. Factors such as the type of metal and even the amount of naturally-occurring corrosives in the water supply contribute. Galvanized steel pipes once commonly installed in older homes, for example, are extremely prone to internal corrosion. Because eventual leakage and rupture are common, today, these pipes are recommended to be replaced in all cases.
  • Excessive water pressure. Municipal water pressure is often controlled by an adjustment valve at the house water meter. If water pressure has been adjusted too high, excess stress on internal plumbing will result in leakage, particularly at pipe joints or in spans of pipe weakened by internal corrosion. These initially small leaks are likely to progress into a major pipe rupture and significant water damage.

Minor plumbing leaks may also keep enclosed areas of the house such as the basement, crawl space and attic chronically moist. This provides a perfect environment for growth of toxic mold that eventually spreads throughout the house. Small ongoing leakage also rots wooden structural components as well as destroys insulation and promotes insect infestation.

Ways To Avoid A/C Water Leaks…

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

ac water leakA/C water leaks can be very stealthy and damaging as a result. Water leakage from a central air conditioner is almost always related to the condensate drip pan and drain system, located at the indoor air handler inside the house. Since the A/C evaporator coil inside the air handler can generate over 20 gallons of condensation on a humid day, the potential for substantial water damage in the event of a malfunction is clear. Prevention is always better than making repairs afterwards, so here are some ways to avoid A/C water leaks.

Things to do

Check the condensate drip pan regularly – This large flat pan located underneath the indoor air handler catches condensate as it drips off the A/C evaporator coil. Collected condensate drains out of the pan into a drain line usually plumbed into the household sewer line or discharges somewhere outside the house. If it’s cooling season and the air conditioner is running, the drain pan will likely be wet. However, you should not notice standing water in the pan. This usually indicates a clogged or sluggish condensate drain line and an impending damaging overflow. Also, look around the perimeter of the pan for signs of leakage such as wet spots or puddles. Drip pans may crack or corrode with age, seeping small amounts of water gradually. Contact a qualified HVAC service provider if you see standing water or evidence of leakage.

Consider an automatic shut-off switch – To avoid water damage from the condensate system, an automatic shutoff switch detects excess standing water in the drain pan and turns off power to the air conditioner before an overflow occurs.

Get regular A/C service – Mold growth inside the wet drip pan is a frequent cause of clogs in the drain line. Annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC technician includes inspecting the condensate drain system, cleaning the pan and installing time-release biocide tablets in the pan to inhibit mold and algae growth all season long.

A/C water leaks often go undetected until substantial damage has been done. Contact the professionals at Rytech for more information about prevention and recovery.


5 Tasks Homeowners Can Take to Prevent Water Leaks at Home

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

What can you do to prevent water leaks and the expensive damage they cause?  Quite a bit, as it turns out. Water damage from leaks doesn’t usually happen out of the blue. Frequently, there’s a background of preventable issues that could have been addressed before the leakage — and the cost of repairs and restoration — occurred in the first place.