How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home This Winter

If you're leaving your house for an extended period of time, be sure to follow this advice.

Photo provided by Shutterstock.

Photo provided by Shutterstock.

Traveling for a few days, and you might not give winter-related home preparations much thought, but a few simple steps can prevent serious damage to your property.

To avoid burst pipes, a primary cause of damage during New England winters, we asked Andy Rodenhiser of Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning to share some tips.

“The biggest danger in leaving a house unattended during the winter months is having the inside temperature of the house fall to temperatures around freezing.  Heating systems can fail, and if that happens, pipes can freeze and burst,” says Rodenhiser.

He advises a five-step checklist:

1. Set the thermostat to 50 degrees or above.

2. Check that there is plenty of fuel in the tank to supply your heating system.

3. Make sure all of your windows are closed—it seems obvious, but leaving one open makes controlling the temperature difficult.

4. Shut off the main water and drain the faucet.

5. Open kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity doors to avoid creating cold spots around pipes.

Rodenhiser says that steps four and five are only necessary if you’re planning to leave your home for an extended period of time.

He also recommenders installing a home monitoring system that allows the temperature to be monitored from your phone. Alerts can be set in the case that a heating system fails.