Is It A Good Idea To Turn Off Main Water Before Going On Vacation?

should i turn off water when on vacation

Holidays provide an opportunity for repose, leisure, and revitalization. The excitement of exploring new destinations or simply escaping the daily grind is something we all look forward to. Prior to commencing your journey, a list of chores must be accomplished within your residence. Among these, the question often arises: Should I turn off the water when on vacation? In this article, we will delve into the considerations, benefits, and potential drawbacks of shutting off your main water supply before leaving for your well-deserved break.

Should I Turn Off The Water When On Vacation?

The concept of shutting off the primary water source to your house before departing for a vacation may appear superfluous to certain individuals. However, as we’ll explore, there are compelling reasons to consider this precaution, particularly if you’ll be away for an extended period.

Why Turning Off Water is A Good Idea?

Before we delve into the potential consequences of not turning off the water, let’s explore the advantages of doing so.

  • Preventing Potential Disasters – Nothing ruins the post-vacation glow like coming home to a water-damaged house. Turning off the water can prevent various water-related mishaps, including burst pipes, leaks, and flooding.
  • Cost Savings – Water damage repairs can be expensive, often ranging from $1,300 to $5,600, depending on the extent of the damage. Additionally, mold removal can add another $2,500 to the expenses. By turning off the water, you can avoid these hefty costs.
  • Avoiding Inconvenience – Returning from a vacation to find your home in need of repairs can be extremely inconvenient. Not only will you incur expenses, but you may also need to stay elsewhere during the repair process.
  • Insurance Considerations – Some insurance policies may be voided if you don’t shut off the water supply when you’re away for a specified period. It’s crucial to comprehend the terms of your policy and take appropriate action.

What Can Happen If Water is Not Turned Off When I Leave?

To appreciate the wisdom of turning off the main water supply, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences of leaving the water on during your absence.

should i turn off water when on vacation

  • Potential Massive Damage – Water damage can occur due to frozen pipes, leaky supply lines, or malfunctioning water heaters, among other factors. Turning off the water can substantially mitigate the likelihood of such damage.
  • Potentially Massive Costs – Even with insurance, you might still face out-of-pocket expenses after water damage, which can include drying, cleaning, and replacing damaged items. Electrical rewiring may also be necessary. The delay in receiving insurance payouts can further complicate the situation.
  • The Potential for Stress and Inconvenience – Dealing with the aftermath of water damage while you’re awaiting insurance decisions and repairs can be incredibly stressful. It’s not just about the financial burden; it’s also the emotional distress of seeing cherished belongings succumb to water damage.

Will There Be an Issue if the Water is Turned Off Too Long?

One common concern that arises is whether turning off the water for an extended period can lead to issues. The good news is that as long as the water is turned off correctly, there should be no problem. Properly shutting off the main water supply is a straightforward process, and understanding the key steps can alleviate any concerns about the duration of the water being turned off.

Locating the Mains Water Supply Valve

The first step is to locate the main water supply valve in your home. While many homeowners are aware of its general location, it’s important to pinpoint the exact spot. Common places to find this valve include under the sink, next to your gas meter, in the cellar, utility room, airing cupboard, cupboard under the stairs, or near the front door. However, in older properties, the valve’s location might not be obvious, so it’s crucial to investigate in advance.

Ensuring Proper Operation

Once you’ve identified the valve, it’s essential to know how to operate it. Conducting a test before your trip ensures your familiarity with the procedure and confirms that water ceases to flow in your residence as required. This practice allows you to confirm that turning the valve clockwise effectively shuts off the water supply.

Turning Off the Water Correctly

When the time comes to turn off the water before your vacation, make sure to execute the process correctly. Make certain that the valve is completely shut by turning it in a clockwise direction until you encounter a point of resistance. It’s important to be aware that if the valve hasn’t been closed in some time, it might become stuck. If this happens, applying a lubricant like WD40 can help loosen it up. After you’ve successfully turned off the valve, it may take a few minutes for the water to completely stop running, as there will be some residual water left in the pipes.

How Should I Turn On Water Once I Get Back?

Returning home from a vacation is often a mix of emotions – the joy of being back and the dread of unpacking and resuming daily life. To guarantee a seamless changeover, it’s vital to be knowledgeable about the process of reactivating the water supply.

  • Reactivating Your Water Supply – Once you’re back from your vacation, the first order of business is reactivating your water supply. This process is straightforward and involves turning the valve anti-clockwise. It’s important to remember that after an extended period with the water turned off, it might take a few minutes for your taps to start flowing again.
  • Dealing with Air Locks – One common occurrence when restoring the water supply is encountering air locks in the pipes. As you turn the water back on, you may experience some sputtering as these airlocks are released. This is a normal part of the process and usually resolves on its own as the water flows freely. 
  • Ensuring Water Quality – If you’ve been away for an extended period, it’s advisable to run your drinking water taps for a while. This step helps eliminate any stale water that may have been left in the pipes, potentially affecting water quality. Over time, stagnant water can develop an off taste and odor. In extreme cases, the accumulation of bacteria could pose health risks. By running the taps for a few minutes, you can ensure that the water you consume is fresh and safe.

Turning Off the Main Water Before Vacation is Important

In conclusion, the answer to whether you should turn off the main water supply before going on vacation is a resounding yes. While the decision might depend on the duration of your trip and your local climate, it’s a prudent step to safeguard your property from potential water-related disasters. By doing so, you can prevent costly damage, avoid inconvenient repairs, and ensure a stress-free return from your well-deserved break.

So, before you embark on your next adventure, make sure to include “Turn off the main water supply” on your pre-vacation checklist. It’s a small effort that can yield substantial savings and peace of mind. Savor your vacation to the maximum, with the assurance that your residence is shielded from unforeseen water-related issues.

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