You may have heard plumbers and long-time homeowners tell you that it is important to turn off the water supply to your home when you leave for vacation, particularly for a prolonged leave. But, is this true? Should you really bother turning your water off before leaving?
The answer is a resounding yes. Let’s talk about why doing so is a good idea.
7 Reasons to Turn Water Off When Going on Vacation
First off, let’s take a look at the seven reasons why you will want to make sure you turn off your house’s water supply before taking off.
#1: Broken Water Supply Hoses
One of the reasons why you need to turn your water off when going on vacation is because water pipes and supply lines may fail at any given time. This is especially true for water supply lines and hoses that run to your toilets and washing machines, as these are hoses and not solid pipes.
One of such hoses failing while you’re gone would certainly make sure to prepare you an unpleasant surprise upon your return.
#2: Forgotten Sprinkler Systems
Many people have sprinklers for their yards, so their grass and flowers get enough hydration. However, when going on vacation, this can be a problem, especially if you forget to reprogram the sprinklers, or if they continue to run even if it rains a lot. Whatever the case may be, you don’t want to come home to a flooded yard because the sprinklers ran nonstop while it rained.
Moreover, sprinklers can also just fail and water supply lines can burst at any time.
#3: A Leaking or Broken Water Heater
Seeing as your house probably has both hot and cold water, this means that you need a water heater. Just like water supply lines to your toilet, the water heater itself may also fail at any given time. It may develop a slight leak, or it might burst outright. Either way, you don’t want to come home to a flooded basement because your water heater blew its top.
On that same note, even if you don’t turn off the water while you leave, a good idea is to lower the temperature to which the heater heats up the water as this will help you save money.
#4: Leaky Faucets
If you have an older home, chances are that you have some leaky faucets that drip constantly. Each drip that comes out when you aren’t home, and realistically when you are home too, is wasted resources.
Although a few drips per minute won’t cause floods or cost you a ton of money, it’s still water and money you could have saved.
#5: Severe Flood Damage
Whether it’s your toilet, the water heater, or anything else that bursts, an exploded pipe that is spilling countless gallons of water into your home every single hour is going to cause massive damage. If the flood occurs in the basement, it could ruin the foundation of your home and put other important systems at risk.
Even worse is if the flood happens on your main floor, or, god forbid, on a second or third floor, which would send water cascading throughout the whole house from top to bottom. You don’t want to come home to ruined floors, walls, ceilings, and more.
A severe flood may also cause an electrical shortage, which in turn can lead to a fire, and that is of course best avoided.
#6: Extreme Costs
Related to the previous point, if you have severe flood damage in your home, there is going to be a certain cost involved with making repairs. If the flood damage is severe enough, you might even have to gut the whole house and more or less build it from scratch.
Even small floods and damage that may seem minor to the naked eye can end up costing you a whole lot of money, money that you probably can’t afford to lose.
#7: Wintertime Hazards
The main reason or the most important time to turn your water off when you leave for vacation is during the winter. In the winter, the water in pipes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, and this can easily cause pipes to burst.
The colder it gets, especially during the night, and the less adequately protected your pipes are, the more likely it is to occur. There is nothing worse than coming home in the middle of the winter to find a two-foot deep and growing frozen skating rink in your basement.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Turning Water Off When Going on Vacation?
Turning your water off while you go on vacation is absolutely a good idea, but there is one thing that you need to consider first: Is your house heated with hot water? Some of you might have houses that use hot water radiators to heat your home. If you turn your water off when you go on vacation, particularly in the winter, without that supply of hot water, your house will get really cold.
However, because you have turned the water off, even if your house does get cold because there is no water running through the pipes, there is no risk of anything bad happening, which is why this problem is really quite minor.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
The most important thing to remember when you turn the water off in your home is to make sure that all pipes are empty. In other words, during the water shutdown process, make sure that all faucets are in the open position to let water out. This way, when you turn off the water, any remaining water in the pipes will come out of the faucets and drain out.
Remember, you cannot just shut off the water supply without draining the faucets first.
If any pipes still have water in them, you still run the risk of having that water freeze in the even that temperatures drop. Always follow proper water shutoff procedures to avoid damage and costs associated with water damage.
The bottom line is that there are many reasons to turn your water off when you go on vacation. Simply put, it will help you avoid coming back home to water damage and huge repair costs.
Keep in mind that the winter is the most important time to do this, as it only takes a few hours for pipes to freeze and burst, something you want to avoid happening at all costs.