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Turn off water while on vacation

Turn Off Water While on Vacation

Turn off water while on vacation


Got Water? 

Most homeowners who are going on vacation give consideration to what things to pack. Leaving town for any extended time needs equal consideration of things to do with your property to keep it safe. Lock doors, turn off the lights, adjust thermostat, and perhaps have someone collect your mail. One thing most homeowners do not consider is how important it is to turn off water while on vacation to avoid a potential plumbing catastrophe. If one occurs when your home that is bad enough, but when no one is home to stop it, the potential damage is limitless.

Toilets can overflow, a supply line could break, a washing machine can leak, water heaters can rupture and there is even the possibility of water damage from a refrigerator supply line. If you turn water off before leaving you will avoid all water related disasters that could result from your absence.

When water is left running you may return home from a vacation to find a mess of wet flooring, ceilings leaking, and cabinets destroyed. If your trip was multiple days, you may even encounter mold growth. It is always best to shut off your water before you leave for vacation, even if it’s just a weekend trip. Water lines are constantly under pressure, so it’s important to release the pressure if a water heater breaks or a supply line begins to leak.

This post will cover several practical suggestions that emphasize just how important it is to turn off your water before leaving on vacation. These steps will help you avoid the possibility of returning home to water damage on a property that would have otherwise remained safe.

What can Happens When Water is Left Running on Vacation?

When occupants normally are residing in the home, they are likely to hear or witness in a matter of minutes a plumbing issue. If a water supply line starts to leak in a bathroom or a kitchen appliance starts to pour water onto the floor, someone is going to notice. They can manage and minimize damage by simply turning off the water.

However, if this same situation continued for several days without anyone home, the damage could be monumental. Leaving valuable property to the mercy of fast-moving water can be avoided by simply turning water off before leaving on vacation. Left running it will quickly migrate from one room to the next with no end in sight. Soon the water will deluge to the basement or crawlspace while elevated humidity climbs to the attic, affecting insulation.

Action Extraction property restoration of Macomb has dealt with large-scale flooding for years that resulted when homeowners were on vacation. Each of these properties could have been kept safe if the residents had known the importance of turning off the water when on vacation.

How Can Leaving Water on During a Vacation Damage Property?

Let’s say shortly after you leave the home a small leak begins in your bathroom from the toilet supply line. This minor drip can over several days migrate throughout the main level and creep into the basement dripping down through multiple inlets. Even worse, the water that began as a drip can quickly become a spray as compromised materials get worse when water continues to travel through them. Worst case scenario, the spray advances to a completely detached supply line allowing water to run everywhere. With each hour till you return home, the flood damage is affecting the value of your home.

Many properties have bad fittings, and water using appliances that are on the brink of failing. When you turn off water while on vacation you at the very least make sure if disaster strikes, someone is home to catch it.

Water Can Cause Major Damage in th Winter

Protecting your home from winter water damage while on vacation is critically important. Winter vacations leave your home vulnerable to extremely cold temperatures, that can easily freeze water in pipes. When water lines freeze and burst the frozen pipe may not allow water to run initially, but as soon as the temperature rises enough to thaw the ice, forceful water spray will go everywhere. Imagine this scene in your home and the devastation you would face when returning home. This can all be avoided when water is turned off prior to leaving on vacation.

The Correct Way to Shut Water off

Locating the main water shut off can be a clumsy endeavor if you don’t already know where it is. They are typically found in basements, crawlspaces, or plumbing proceeding from a concrete slab. In a finished basement they can be hidden, covered and difficult to access. Assuming you know where it resides, firmly grip the shut off valve and tighten it if it is a gate valve or turn it to the correct position if it is a ball valve.

Once you have reached the correct position that shuts down the water, check it by opening a faucet and let water run till it completely stops. If it continues to run even after an extra attempt to tighten the valve, you may need a new main water shut off valve. This is why it is best to test the valve several days before your trip so there is time to correct this before leaving.

4 Times you Need to Turn off  the Water When Leaving for Several Days

The restoration professionals at Action Extraction of Macomb believe in the habit of always turning your water off if your home will be vacant over 24 hours. You never know what might manifest when homes are left unoccupied for more than a day. Homes have plumbing that is under pressure, making it an intelligent step to turn off water before you leave the home.

1. When homes are left vacant longer than 24 hours.

Families who are going on vacation or short-term trips should turn off their water before leaving. This little time could save you from spending weeks or months in hotels while the property of your home is restored after a water damage claim. Many people would be surprised to learn how many bursts pipes, water fixtures that are broken or supply lines which have detached can happen after you leave your home.

2. When commercial buildings or businesses are left empty.

Many businesses close for weekends and holidays, which can lead to water damage. A plumbing issue or an appliance malfunction can cause water to run for a long time in unoccupied commercial buildings and businesses. Water damage can be catastrophic and expensive to repair by the time it is detected. Turning off the water when you are on vacation is a way to discourage Murphy’s law and save money.

3. To stop pipes from freezing.

Michigan’s winters are harsh, with temperatures below zero for long periods of time. Turn off the water if your home will not be occupied in winter for longer than one day. Open any exterior water spicket on the building or home to allow them to drip. Add an additional layer of insulation or material to exposed pipes to increase their R Value. Keep your thermostat at 55 degrees or higher to avoid frozen pipes during the winter. Temperatures should remain above freezing, even if there are cold drafts in the unfinished area near your plumbing.

4. Turn Water Off Not Utilities

Turning off your utilities is not a sound way to save money while on vacation. Electricity and gas must be left on for the mechanical systems to keep servicing your home to keep it safe. The sump pump will need electricity to operate, or you will experience sump pump failure which can flood the basement. Furnaces need both electricity and gas to maintain heat and keep plumbing from freezing. Each winter insurance companies are inundated with excessive claims for residential water damage because homeowners did not leave utilities running during colder temperatures. They may have saved a few dollars on reduced electric and gas usage, but the cost for water damage restoration and repairs can become overwhelming.  

Remarkably some banking institutions that acquire properties through foreclosure regularly turn off utilities to save money. Then when they eventually show the property and discover basement flooding, broken pipes and water damage everywhere, they realize the consequences of irresponsibly shutting off the utilities to save money.

With electricity absent there are no working parts to keep properties safe. The needed sump pump to control the water table is incapable of engaging which places property at risk for catastrophic water damage. There are instances where realtors eventually opening these homes up for a showing, discover water damage in basements, broken plumbing from freezing and other needed repairs that will now keep the property from the market for months.

3 Benefits of turning off the water when on vacation

When you begin to regularly secure your home by shutting off the water before leaving on vacation,  you will be rewarded with 3 recognized benefits.

1. Minimized Risk: There are few things that can be guaranteed in life, but by shutting down the water supply to your house you will ensure no water from municipal sources will flow if anything bad occurs. If a pipe to the toilet breaks, or if an appliance fails, you won’t have water running.

You can leave your house for a few days or even several weeks and not worry about water damage. You won’t have to fret about returning home to find wet carpeting, water staining on drywall or other nightmares. By turning off the water, you can drastically reduce the risk of flooding, musty odors and mold growth.

2. Reduced Stress: Vacations should be about relaxation and getting away. You don’t want to think about your house flooding. You should always turn off the water when you are on vacation to avoid worrying about flooding.

It can be a stressful experience to come home and find that you have a property loss due to running water. In such cases you will need to file an insurance claim, and maybe even spend some time in a hotel. All this can be avoided when you turn off water while on vacation.

3. Minimized Cost: Structurally drying out and repairing a home that has been damaged by water can cost much more than a vacation. Water damage can introduce exorbitant expenses and time to fully remediate, even if your insurer covers the cost. There is often additional cost that are not allowed for reimbursement on your homeowners policy you will incur.

Your insurance carrier may even deny coverage if you failed to regularly have someone inspect your home every week. If you fail to take this step, all costs related to repairs and restoration could fall on your shoulders. Many policies have exclusions on vacationers that don’t make arrangements for the unoccupied home to be regularly tended to. By committing yourself to turn off water before vacationing you will minimize risk, cost and stress which in turn can allow you to enjoy a wonderful vacation.

Professional Emergency Flood Damage Restoration

Is sometimes needed when you don’t turn water off while on vacation

The team of water damage specialist at Action Extraction hope that you will never return home to a flooded house and your vacations are filled with happy memories. In the event you ever come home to any water damage related concern, we are here to help. With over 35 years in assisting residents in Southeast Michigan with water and mold remediation services, we are available 24/7. Call us today if you have an emergency or just have questions we can assist with.

We have the experience, committed team and resources to transform a flood disaster into a restoration triumph. When things look their worst, we can change things for the better using the most advanced scientific technology to restore your home or business.

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