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Arizona has some pretty nice ski resorts up north, and if you’re anything like me, you make sure you’re ready to hit the slopes when the first good snowfall happens. If you end up leaving your home for any extended period of time, you should consider performing these simple steps to ensure your winter vacation doesn’t end with a plumbing problem.

1. If you will be away from home for extended length of time during cold weather, turn off the main domestic water supply where it enters the home, and turn off all water-consuming appliances like humidifiers, icemakers and water softeners.

2. Turn the thermostats down to not less than 55 degrees F.

3. Open all cabinet doors where there is plumbing located in those cabinets, and have a friend or relative come by daily during extremely cold weather to make sure that everything is OK.

4. Leave the name of your plumbing contractor with the temporary caretakers in case an emergency arises while you are away.

5. If you have a fire protection line, make sure it is not affected by turning off the domestic water supply line.

6. Have your friend or relative turn the thermostat back up to the normal operating temperature at least 24 hours before you arrive home. This will ensure that the home is comfortable when you return.

7. When you arrive, slowly fill the home’s water lines by turning the main water valve partially on, so that it doesn’t flow wide open.

8. Once the pressure has equalized, go to each sink and water outlet and slowly open the lines to allow the air to escape. Allow the water to run until air is completely out of the lines. Use caution when bleeding the air out of the hot water lines. During long periods of non-use, the water heater may release hydrogen gas, which is flammable. Allow any air discharging from the hot water faucets a chance to dissipate before turning on an open flame.

9. Perform a visual inspection of any flex lines serving all appliances in the home. This includes washing machine hoses, dishwasher hoses and any other flexible tubular supply lines in the system. If you find a hose that is blistering, ballooning or bubbling, turn the water supply to that appliance off and replace the hose as soon as possible. It is a good idea to inspect these hoses on a regular basis, and at a minimum, once a year. Tie this inspection to another seasonal task, like winterization of your irrigation system.

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