Plumbing Survival Guide: Keeping Your Vacation Home in Top Shape

As we kick off the Memorial Day weekend, summer is officially here! And with the warmer temps come renters and guests to your beautiful Outer Banks rental property. But that’s not all! You also get an increased use of your home’s plumbing system. Did you know that a family of 5 can use up to 400 gallons of water per day, which includes flushing toilets, using faucets, taking showers, running the washing machine, and using the dishwasher. With this high level of usage comes the importance of maintaining an efficient and well-functioning plumbing system. Here are some essential plumbing maintenance tips to keep your vacation home in top shape:

TIP #1: Adjust Your Water Heater

Instead of keeping your water heater at its usual temperature, consider turning it down for the summer. With the warmer weather, a hot shower is not as critical, and lowering the temperature can reduce energy usage, saving you money on utility bills and lessening your environmental impact.

TIP #2: Proper Disposal Practices

Your garbage disposal isn’t a catch-all for food waste. Unfortunately, not everyone knows this! Disposals are designed to handle small food scraps, not large quantities of food or certain types of waste. Remind your guests to avoid putting these items down the disposal:

  • Fruit pits
  • Eggshells
  • Oil or grease
  • Coffee grounds
  • Starchy foods like pasta, potatoes, or rice

Using the disposal properly can prevent clogs and damage. Learn more in our blog post, “If Your Garbage Disposal Could Talk.”

TIP #3: Laundry Room Tips

More guests mean more laundry. Your washing machine will be working harder than usual, handling extra loads of sheets, towels, and clothing. It’s essential to check washing machine, hoses, and connections regularly. Look for:

  • Cracked or loose hoses
  • Drips at connections
  • Clogs in the drum from towel fuzz and fabric fibers

If your washer has a lint trap, you’ll want to clean it in between rental periods. Also, it’s important to remind guests to clean the dryer’s lint filter every couple of loads to prevent fires and maintain efficiency.

TIP #4: Bathroom Maintenance

With toilets getting more use, addressing minor issues before they become significant problems is crucial. While preparing your Outer Banks rental property for its first guests, watch for toilets that seem to run constantly, and any moisture/leaks near the valves or around the base of the toilet, Early maintenance can save you from more extensive and expensive repairs later. Remind everyone about what can and cannot be flushed to avoid plumbing issues. For a refresher, check out our blog, “Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet.”

TIP #5: Locate Your Main Shut-Off Valve

Knowing where your main shut-off valve is can be a lifesaver in an emergency. This is particularly important for vacation rental owners. Make sure you and your guests know the location of the shut-off valve to quickly stop water flow in case of a leak. When your home is unoccupied, consider turning off the water main to prevent any mishaps. Regularly check all shut-off valves to ensure they work correctly. For more details, visit our blog about shut-off valves.

Simplify Your Life with Pro-Active Maintenance

If you’ve been putting off repairs or upgrades, now is the perfect time to tackle them. Fixing a leaky faucet or updating old toilets can prevent future issues and ensure your plumbing runs smoothly all summer long.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your plumbing system stays in excellent condition throughout the busy summer months. Whether you’re hosting family and friends or renting out your vacation home, a bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way in keeping your home’s plumbing trouble-free. Enjoy your summer with the confidence that your plumbing system is ready to handle the season’s demands.