Should I Turn Off My Water When I Leave My House?

There are a few folks who have gone through more than one flood in their lifetime from their plumbing system failing.   Usually, if you are going to have a leak or a flood, Murphy’s Law dictates that it will happen when you are gone.

Professional plumbers will always tell you to turn off the main valve to your house if you are going to be gone.  Gone for how long is the question.

main shut off valve

Don’t wait until the day of your departure to see if your main valve turns off or not.  Chances are, it won’t turn off or it might break off, because it hasn’t been exercised.

This is why proper maintenance of your plumbing system is crucial to your homes health.  Maintenance is less work than paranoia.  At least twice a year you should turn your main valve off to make sure it works. But first,  you must know where it is. Make sure everyone in the household knows where the main valve is and how to turn it off.  A 1/4 turn lever handle ball valve is the easiest and most positive shut-off valve to have.

Now a days, nothing is a lifetime product, things need replacing.  Individual shut-off valves under each fixture  should also be inspected twice a year, making sure that you see no signs of corrosion and that they turn on and off properly without leaking or dripping.  1/4 turn valves are available as replacements for these also. They are much easier to operate.

While you are doing your household plumbing inspection, make sure to check your washing machine hoses.  If they show signs of rust, corrosion or have bubbles in them, change them.  Most plumbers prefer stainless steel washing machine hoses and supplies.  However, these should be changed every five years.

If no one is going to check your house every day while you are gone, then we recommend that you turn off your water.  Because if your water heater leaks, it is better to have 50 gallons on the floor verse thousands of gallons.  Also, you should turn off the power to your water heater if you are gone for more than two days. No “sense” in heating up the water if you are not there to use it.

Routine inspections and maintaining your plumbing system is by far, easier and cheaper than the consequences of one flood.

One should also be aware that if you are on well water, and have a lot of algae, debri, sand or just plain bad water, sometimes turning on and the water can flush this loose in the pipes and cause obstructions in your faucets and toilet fill valves.  What you should do is turn the water on slowly, especially if your system is not pressurized, and open up your largest faucet. Start by opening all of your hose bibs, and your bathtub faucet making sure the water comes out of the tub spout, not the shower head. After the water is flowing clean, then bleed off the other faucets and flush the toilets.

If you need help on your plumbing system or you can’t locate your main shut-off valve, schedule with us on-line at or call Wimpy’s Plumbing & Air, Inc. at 941-322-1911. We would be happy to serve you.

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