Winterizing Your House While Away / Why Does My Washerless Faucet Leak?

In Plumbing, Winter Tips For Your Home on February 26, 2015 at 9:50 am


I follow your blog every week and you wrote an article about closing up a house for the season. We are going away for a month and I will be leaving the thermostat set at 55 degrees. I will shut off the water from the main shut off in the basement, which will leave the sump pump and the back up sump pump running. Do I have to do anything with the water heater? There is a dial on mine that says “vacation”, can I just turn it to the “vacation” setting and leave it at that, or is there something else I need to do? Upon my return is there anything I need to do with regard to the water heater? Any other advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.


Just turn the water heater down to the “vacation” setting and that should be fine. That is, if the water heater is in the basement. By turning the temperature down to the “vacation” setting you are still leaving the pilot on and the water slightly heated. When you return, just turn the temperature up to 120-degrees, which is the sanitary setting for the water if you have a dishwasher. For those of you who do not have a basement and will be gone for a month or more in the winter, I suggest turning the water heater off and draining the water from it. It would be unlikely, but not impossible for the water to freeze in a water heater in a basement unless it was a winter like we had last year.

By the way, once you turn off the water at the meter, open all the faucets in the house to drain any water in the pipes that could freeze. After you do that, then pour a cup of camping antifreeze in all the drains because remember, there is water that can still freeze in the traps and this will keep the water from freezing and busting the pipes.

As for the toilets, if you are worried about the heat failing (and I would) I suggest flushing the toilets once the water has been turned off and pour a cup or two of camping antifreeze into the toilet as well as the toilet box. Unlike automotive antifreeze, camping antifreeze is not harmful to the environment. Camping antifreeze is available wherever camping equipment and outdoor camping supplies are sold.


Why does my single lever faucet leak when it states they never do?


I f you have one of those single lever faucets, like a Delta faucet, people are under the impression that it’s not suppose to leak. Boy, what a drip!

No one ever said they aren’t supposed to leak. The advertising claim is that Delta faucets as well as other brands of single lever faucets, are washerless and you will never have to replace a washer. Well, the ads were right. However, you will have to replace “O” rings, springs and seats. This job is easy to do and kits can be purchased containing everything you need for the job, including the Allen wrench. The kits are inexpensive and can be purchased at most hardware and home centers.

Start by determining the model of your brand of leaking faucet and then purchase the repair kit. Turn off the water and stop up the drain. Now comes the hard part. Follow the directions on the kit for your particular faucet. (You knew there had to be a catch somewhere). Actually, the directions are very simple to follow. Even I can do it.

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  1. I love reading all of Lon’s blogs. So informative!
    It’s obvious he really know his stuff!

    • Elmo, thanks for subscribing and reading my blog..it is appreciated. I am delighted you find it informative, thats exactly my intention. Again thank you. Lon

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