plumbing checklist

The Ultimate Plumbing Checklist for the Holidays

With the holidays only just around the corner, it’s about time we all started checking up on our plumbing works.

It’s important to keep an eye on your plumbing all year, but when the holidays are approaching and the frosty weather is beginning to creep in, it’s more important than ever.

You don’t want a crisis in the plumbing department happening as soon as your guests arrive, or worse, when they use ‘the facilities’ – what a way to end Thanksgiving.

Here we’re going to go over all the plumbing necessities you’ll want to cover if you’re staying at home for the holidays (or if you’re going away for a few nights).

Avoid embarrassing, messy plumbing disasters by following our checklists below!

Are you planning on staying at home for the holidays?

Here’s how to make sure your plumbing can keep up with the festive celebrations.

Test flush every toilet in your home

If you only have one bathroom, then you probably won’t have to worry about this. However, if you have lots of bathrooms or one that doesn’t get used very often, it’s best to flush it just to make sure everything still works.

Listen out for any leaks after you’ve flushed it, and check if there are any drips in the sink. Be sure to check that all your drains empty properly. It’s a lot easier to fix a little plumbing problem now than have it develop into a bigger issue to solve in the middle of the holiday season.

Drain hoses & shut off outside water valves

If you leave water stagnant in hoses or leave a water valve turned on, that stagnant water is going to freeze, expand, and end up damaging them.

It might not impact the party inside, but you'll have to pay to get them replaced, which adds more expense to the holidays.

Test your heaters

Having no heating at all is one of the worst things that could happen during the coldest months of the year. This is why it’s important to check your furnaces, heaters, and other heat sources.

Turn them all on and check to make sure they’re working, and there aren’t any issues. It’s a lot easier to call for help now than it would be in the dead of winter.

Make sure your hot water tank is working

It’s always nice to have a hot shower on a chilly winter day. If you’ve got guests over, they’ll use more hot water than you usually do.

Make sure your hot water tank is working properly, and it’s outputting the perfect temperature. If your water tank isn’t up to standard, or it’s on the way to breaking down, it’s good to detect this in advance of the holidays so you can get it fixed in advance.

Check your septic tank  

Nobody wants that bad smell wafting through the house on Christmas Eve. If your house is packed over the holidays, your toilet will be under a lot more pressure than normal. Make sure to have your septic tank checked by a professional to ensure that there are no bad smells to ruin the Christmas spirit.

Inspect your gutters

It’s a good idea to check your gutters for clogs, cracks, or sagging. You should also make sure there aren’t any large icicle formations. This could be a real hazard for your guests when entering your home.

Clear your gutters of any debris and fix up any cracks. You definitely don’t want to deal with clogs freezing overnight and breaking your gutters.

Flush out your outdoor drains

Debris can accumulate quickly during the summer and fall seasons. This debris clogs up your drains, and the moisture freezes and cracks them. Now is the best time to flush your drains out with a power washer to prevent any damage.

Check that all appliances are working  

You might only use certain appliances when you have guests over. Now is the perfect time to check and make sure all your appliances are working.

Be sure to check and double-check all your appliances, including:

  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerators
  • Garbage disposals
  • Gas fireplaces
  • Kitchen ventilation
  • Oven

Are you planning to leave home for the holidays?

Here's what you need to do to make sure your plumbing stays in one piece while you're gone.

It’s awesome to be able to get out of the house for the holidays and spend time with the people that mean the most to you (especially after the year we’ve had). Whether you’re going to visit your relatives in another state or you’ve simply decided to escape the cold weather for the holiday, it’s important to make sure your plumbing all stays in one piece while you’re away.

Here’s our quick guide on what’s important to check over before you leave your home for a while.

Shut off your water supply before you leave

If you are only away for a couple of days, this won't be an absolute must-do, but we'd still advise shutting it off just if the worst does happen. If you're going for a week or longer, we definitely recommend shutting off your water supply before you go.

That way, you will be covered and prevent any nasty accidents from happening in your home while you're away. You wouldn’t want to come back to a flooded kitchen after a lovely break away. You never know when a pipe will burst, and if it bursts when you’re away, you won’t be able to control the extent of the damage, and your home could be ruined.

Remember to let all the faucets run when you turn your water supply off. This will drain out any water remaining in your pipes.

Thoroughly inspect your sump pump

Nobody wants to come home to a flooded house. Your sump pump helps prevent flooding, so make sure it’s in perfect condition before you leave your home unattended.

If it's not working correctly or you think something is wrong with it, then call in a professional to look before you head off for the holidays.

Check your drains

Take a look to see if your outside drains are being blocked by any debris or tree roots. You’ll want to remove these before you leave as they could stop water from being drained from your gutters.

If a build-up occurs, it could freeze while you’re away and cause serious damage to your home. Better to clean them out now than risk any damages in the future.

Be on the lookout for dampness or corrosion

Before you go away for the holidays, check your home for any signs of dampness or corrosion, which signifies you may have a leak somewhere. You don’t want to leave it to sit and rot, so call in a professional to take a look at it right away.

Get somebody to house sit for you

If you’re heading away from your home for a couple of weeks or so, it could be a good idea to ask a close friend or nearby family member to house sit for you. This way, if anything goes wrong while you’re away, they can get in contact with you, and you’ll be able to fix it sooner rather than later.

Want more super-helpful plumbing tips for the holidays? Check our blog on how you can prepare your pipes for the holidays.

At Nichols and Phipps, we want to help make the holiday season as stress-free as possible. Prevent any mishaps over the festive season by contacting us for a plumbing inspection, giving us a call at (703) 497-9187.
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