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Tips to Prepare Unoccupied Vacation Homes to Prevent Costly Water Damage

The insurance claims and building science professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters provides tips to secure unoccupied vacation properties.


When a vacation home is unoccupied, even for a short period of time, a small water leak can turn into a major event.

Whether a vacation property is a million dollar beach home, condo in the city, ski chalet, mountain retreat or simple fishing cabin, many of these properties are vacant for extended periods of time. While these properties provide much needed relaxation and a chance to get away for their owners, they can also turn into a costly nightmare if water damage occurs while people are away. 
When a vacation home is unoccupied, even for a short period of time, a small water leak can turn into a major event.  In fact, water damage is one of the most common reasons for a property insurance claim.  In addition to direct damage due to water, mold can begin to grow in less than 48 hours on many building materials, furnishing and household belongs when moisture is introduced.  Once mold is a factor, remediation costs typically increase dramatically and many insurance policies either do not cover mold or provide only minimal coverage.
“Even if there is not a water incursion, high humidity levels from the environment in a vacant house or condo can lead to mold growth and musty odors,” said Tom Allen from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Reducing humidity levels through the use of air conditioning during the humid months is one option, but be sure its drain lines are not obstructed.”  
Fortunately, many potential sources of water damage can be averted by checking and preparing the vacation home before leaving it.  Mr. Allen recommends the following steps:

  1. Check the home’s interior and exterior for any signs of leaks and consider turning the water heater off or to vacation mode.
  2. Consider shutting off the water main to the home.  If this cannot be done because of an automatic sprinkler system or other reason, shut off the valves to major appliances within the property.
  3. If the property has a well, consider shutting the pump off. 
  4. Check gutters and downspouts for damage and clear any debris that may be causing obstructions.
  5. If the property has a sump pump, be sure it is in working order.
  6. During freezing weather, be sure the heating system is operating properly and that any exposed pipes are insulated.  It is also a good idea to drain pipes if the water has been shut off by running water faucets and flushing toilets.
  7. Ask a neighbor to periodically check on the property and be sure they know where the water main shut off valve is located.

Vacation and primary homeowners in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey that do experience water damage or other forms of property damage, can turn to the professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters for help. Their experts resolve insurance claims comprehensively and help to ensure that policy holders obtain the most accurate insurance settlement possible.  They also recently sponsored an educational video with tips for preventing water damage and mold growth in unoccupied vacation properties that can be seen at:
To learn more about how the licensed public adjusters at Hudson Douglas can settle insured property claims quickly and for the fair maximum value, please visit, email or call (800) 898-4290.
About Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC
With more than 50 years of experience in the construction and disaster restoration industries, the founders of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters provide policy holders with professional representation to efficiently manage and settle insured claims.  Hudson Douglas’ public adjusters are licensed to offer these services to residential and commercial customers in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

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 Vacation Home
 Water Damage
 Property Damage
 Property Insurance
 Public Adjuster

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