Preparing Your Plumbing for Vacation: Summer Travel Tips

Water,shut,off,valve,red,on,the,floorSummer is the season when many of us plan our long-awaited vacations. Whether you are going on a camping trip, relaxing at a beach resort, or exploring a new city, the last thing you want to worry about is a plumbing issue at home. Taking some simple precautions before you leave can help ensure that you return to a stress-free environment. In this blog post, we will discuss some valuable tips to prepare your plumbing for vacation and avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Inspect Your Plumbing System

Before embarking on your vacation, it is crucial to inspect your plumbing system for any potential leaks or issues. Check all visible pipes, faucets, and drains for leaks or signs of damage. Look for any signs of water stains on walls or ceilings, as these can indicate a hidden leak. If you notice any problems, it is recommended to call a professional plumber to fix them before leaving. Ignoring minor issues can lead to significant water damage and increased repair costs.

Shut Off the Main Water Valve

One of the best ways to prevent a plumbing disaster while on vacation is by shutting off the main water valve. This valve is usually located near the water meter, typically found in the basement or outside your home. Turning off the main water supply prevents water from entering your plumbing system, avoiding leaks, burst pipes, and potential flooding. It is also a good idea to shut off individual water valves for appliances that use water, such as washing machines and dishwashers.

Drain Your Pipes and Water Heater

After shutting off the main water valve, it is crucial to drain your pipes and water heater to minimize the risk of freezing and bursting during colder seasons. To drain your pipes, start by opening all faucets and flushing all toilets to let any remaining water flow out. For the water heater, turn off the power or set it to its lowest setting to avoid heating an empty tank. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and empty the tank into a drain or bucket. Remember to turn off the water heater after draining.

Clean Your Drains

Clogged drains can cause significant problems and unwanted odors while you are away. Before leaving for your vacation, it is advisable to clean your drains to ensure that they are free from any blockages. Pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down each drain in your home, followed by hot water. This will help break down any grease, soap scum, or debris that may be clogging the drains. Additionally, avoid putting any leftover food or oil down the kitchen sink, as this can contribute to clogs.

Protect Your Outdoor Plumbing

If you have outdoor plumbing fixtures, such as sprinklers or hoses, it is essential to properly care for them before your vacation. Make sure to turn off the water source to your outdoor faucets and disconnect and drain hoses. Stagnant water in hoses can freeze during colder nights, leading to burst hoses and other plumbing issues. Remove any attachments from the outdoor faucets to avoid trapping water in the lines and causing leaks or freezing.


Preparing your plumbing before going on vacation is a wise choice to avoid any potential plumbing emergencies. Inspecting your plumbing system, shutting off the main water valve, and draining pipes and hot water heaters are essential steps to prevent leaks and burst pipes while you are away. Cleaning drains and protecting your outdoor plumbing fixtures will help ensure a stress-free return from your summer vacation. By following these tips, you can enjoy your time away without worrying about any unwanted surprises when you return home.

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

Since 1982, Rapids Plumbing has helped customers in Grand Rapids and surrounding cities with all of their plumbing and heating needs. We have Master Plumbers and Technicians available to help with all issues for commercial and residential customers alike. Our services cover installation, maintenance, and repairs for any products such as water heaters, furnaces, boilers, toilets, sinks, and more. Specific services such as checking for leaks, pipe repair, floor heating, remodeling, and even assistance with new construction, are all available. Backflow testing is also available to help prevent contamination in your domestic water supply. Free estimates are available from our plumbers and heating contractors when you call us today!