Shutting Off Water Before Going on Vacation

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Water Damage in Home
Water Damage in Home

Shutting Off Water Before Going on Vacation

Water Cut Off Valve
Water Cut Off Valve

What if you came home from a relaxing vacation only to open the front door to a weird smell. The odor of mildew that smells like a really old basement knocks you down, then you turn to realize you have thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of damage due to your house flooding. The culprit is a leak that sprung and let hundreds of gallons of water flood all over your house for several days. Everything on the outside looks normal, no alarms, no smoke, security alarm didn’t even go off, but inside it’s a world of destruction that has wiped out everything that touches the floor. What if all of this could have been prevented? That is exactly the point of this article.

The Importance of Shutting Off Your Main Water Valve

There are plenty of reasons to protect your home by shutting off your main water valve. Read below the list we’ve gathered for you to know the benefits.

1. Avoiding Risk of Damage
The amount of damage caused by water is potentially the worst type of damage a home can suffer. Once a few days of mildew permeates everything in your home, it’s possible that almost everything that is porous in nature (wood, textiles, electronics, etc) can be a total lose. In essence the potential cost of the damage can be great.

2. High Costs and Loss of Time
Even if you’re insured, I can guarantee that you’ll still be out of pocket once your belongings are dried out, cleaned, and replaced if necessary (most likely). Even your electrical wiring can be damaged because the insulation can wick up the water like a sponge and cause corrosion. No matter what you do, you’ll never fully recover the total costs. One of the bad things you’ll find that many insurance companies go into “cost minimization” mode. It might be months before you see any money and it will usually be less than you think it should be. There’s even a line of business that negotiates the payout for you for a percentage.

You may want to review your insurance policies because some are even are voided if you don’t shut off your water supply when you’re gone from your home for more than a specified amount of days. Most home insurance policies operate under the premise that the home is being occupied daily. If there’s nobody there to watch over it, the policy might be all but voided. You may want to check the fine print to find out what happens in such situations and change policies if needed. For those that don’t have insurance at all, the cost could be life changing in a negative way.

3. Upsetting Stress to the Whole Family
When home owners are awaiting the insurance evaluation and the check, you may have to seek rental accommodations. This adds to the costs and a great amount of inconvenience. There’s also of course the emotional stress of seeing family keepsakes, collectible items, and photo albums all succumb to the water and mildew. It’s a terrible feeling that no family ever wants to go through.

These type of floods happen often. With North Carolina’s unpredictable weather, turning off your water when you go away for any length of time should not even be open for discussion. And when it comes time for a long vacation, one can’t be too careful. Especially since the act of cutting off your water is so easy. It can save you lots of money, precious time, stress, and major inconvenience.

Water Damage
Water Damage

How to Carefully Turn Off and Back On Your Water

The hard part about turning off your water supply is remembering to do it. Maybe you drive a camper to the beach a couple times a year, it may benefit you to leave the keys with a piece of paper that says “shut the water off”. Little reminders can be accomplished many ways. So follow these steps for locating your main valve.

Here’s a few locations you may commonly find your water valve in your home:

  • In your Basement or Crawlspace
  • Outside Your Home
  • In Between a Wellhouse and City Water Meter
  • In a Utility Room

Once you locate the valve the handle in the on position, the valve will be in-line with the pipe. And in the off position the handle will be perpendicular. Once you turn the water off you’ll be able to turn on a faucet anywhere in your home and you should notice the water pressure slowly winding down until it’s until there’s no water at all. The pressure in the line will usually allow water to flow for around 10 seconds. It’s a good idea to test this shut off before you leave the house so you can ensure it’s working properly and that you got the correct valve.

Note, you’ll want to be careful how you turn the valve back on. You’ll want to slowly turn the valve back on so the water doesn’t rush back in creating high pressure in the line. As a rule you’ll want to count to 20 as you slowly turn back on the handle.

Should You Also Turn Off Your Water Heater?

Any time you go on vacation, it’s best to also turn off your water heater as well. Turning off the source of the heat (gas, electric) while you’re away will not damage your water heater. This will save you in power (gas) and potential damage if it leaks too.

In Conclusion: Turn The Water Off If Gone More Than 24 Hrs

Nobody plans for their home to experience a plumbing based flood. But these types of disasters can and do happen – and when you’re you don’t see the damage while it happens. Remember to turn off your home’s main water supply any time you’re planning to be away for more than 24 hours. Even for weekend trips it’s a good idea. It’s the best way to avoid serious water leaks and damage if you have a common plumbing failure.

South End Plumbing specializes in all plumbing services so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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