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Serving the Lubbock Area

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JD's Prompt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Turning Off Your Water Before Vacation: Yes or No?


In 2018, actor Frankie Muniz of “Malcolm in the Middle” fame left home to travel to his uncle’s funeral. When he returned, he found that his house had catastrophically flooded. Everything from valuable artwork to irreplaceable family photos was lost. How did this happen? And how can you make sure it doesn’t happen to you?

One topic that’s sometimes debated is whether or not a home’s water should be shut off before the family goes away for a vacation. Could this have saved Frankie Muniz’s home? If you’re leaving on vacation, should you completely shut off the water to your house? If so, how? Is there a right way to do it? We’ll tell you all about it.

Yes, Shut Your Water Off Before Leaving Home

Our recommendation is that it is safest for your plumbing and your home if the water to your house is completely shut off while you are away. With nobody there to notice when a problem starts, any small thing can lead to disaster. In Frankie Muniz’s case, a sink faucet had been turned on. How did that happen in an empty home? Apparently, it was the cat! But many other things can occur.

From minor dripping to cracked pipes, anything can lead to horrific water damage if there’s no one there to call a plumber right away. And because you’re likely to adjust your thermostat before leaving, temperatures in your home might be hotter in summer or colder in winter than they would be if you were home. This leads to water pressure changes or even frozen pipes, increasing the risk of burst plumbing.

A Note on Your Homeowner’s Insurance

You might think that, if a plumbing disaster flooded your home while you were away, at least your homeowner’s insurance would cover the costs associated with repairing the damage. Don’t be so sure! There may be a clause requiring you to shut your water off before leaving for an extended time, or the policy may be void if there is no one home keeping an eye on things.

How to Shut Your Water Off

The first step is locating your main water shut-off valve. It would be best to do this when you have plenty of time, not when you’re rushing out the door, so a practice run is advisable. The valve is probably in your home, on the wall facing the street if you have municipal water, or facing the well if you have one. It may be on the outside of the house near the water meter.

Once you’ve found it, it’s as simple as giving it a twist clockwise as far as it goes, or, if it’s a lever, moving it into the closed position. Then you need to drain the water that’s already in your pipes. Open up all the fixtures and let it run until it stops. There you go. You’ve done it! 

If you need help with your main water shut-off valve or have any other questions about plumbing service in Levelland, TX, a member of our team would be delighted to help you feel confident that you’re doing right by your plumbing. 

JD’s Prompt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Lubbock area. Contact us for all your plumbing needs.

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