Why and How to Shut Your Water off When You Leave Home

Are you headed on vacation this year?

Maybe you’ve already made your packing list and arranged a kennel for Fido in preparation for the big trip. You’ve thought of everything, right? Well, there may be one more item to add to your list of things to do before you go.

The Murphy’s Post-Vacation Mishap

The Murphy family returned home from a rejuvenating vacation, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle their daily lives. However, as they stepped through the front door, they were greeted not by the familiar comfort of their home, but by the sound of dripping water. Rushing to the source of the noise, they discovered a leaky pipe in the kitchen, water spilling onto the floor and forming a small puddle. Their hearts sank at the sight, their relaxation from the vacation evaporating instantly.

Mr. Murphy furrowed his brow, Mrs. Murphy let out a frustrated sigh, and their kids looked on with disappointment. All they had wanted was to come back to a peaceful, worry-free home, but now they were faced with the stress of dealing with a plumbing issue. As they scrambled to contain the leak and figure out a solution, the relaxation and light-heartedness from their vacation quickly faded away.

Why You Should Shut Off Your Main Water Supply Before Vacation

Whether it’s a 2-week trip to Mexico or even a weekend ice fishing getaway, you’ll want to shut off your main water supply before you leave.

Water damage on ceiling

It is advised that you shut your water off if you’re going to be away from your home for 24 hours or longer. This might not seem like very long, but keep in mind that even a small leak will not shut itself off and will continue the entire time you're gone, leading to extensive water damage.

If the temperatures are below freezing when you are away from home, the risk of pipes bursting is an additional concern.

When water freezes inside pipes, it expands and puts immense pressure on the pipes. This pressure can cause the pipes to crack or burst, resulting in costly water damage to your property. Not only will you have to deal with the expense of repairing or replacing the damaged pipes, but you may also have to contend with water damage to your walls, floors, and belongings.

Burst water pipe

A burst pipe or leak can lead to flooding in your home, causing further damage and potential health hazards. Mold and mildew can quickly develop in damp areas, posing risks to both your property and your health. In extreme cases, flooding from burst pipes can even compromise the structural integrity of your home, leading to extensive repairs and safety concerns.

How To Shut Off Your Home’s Main Water Supply

Shutting off your water only takes a minute to do and can ensure your return is a lot less stressful. So relax, and enjoy that time away from home! Here’s how to shut off your home’s main water supply:

  1. Locate the main water supply line to your house, and the main shut-off valve. This will generally be near your water meter. If you cannot locate your water shut off, reach out to your plumber.
  2. If the valve has a tap or knob-style handle, turn it clockwise. If the valve has a lever-style handle, turn it clockwise or in whichever direction the “off” arrow points.
  3. Turn on the closest tap and let it run until you can confirm the water is shut off.
Water Valve

So, before you jet off on your next adventure, add "shut off main water supply" to your pre-trip checklist and enjoy a worry-free vacation knowing your home is protected. We have a full list of things to consider: 15 Things You Should Do Around Your Home Before Going on Vacation.

Is it too late and water damage has already occurred? We’ll walk you through the next steps in our article What To Do in Case of Water Damage to Your Home.

Insure Your Home in Case of Water Damage

Prevention is the best thing you can do to avoid water damage to your home. But of course, not all things are 100% preventable or predictable. Another important precaution to take is to make sure you have adequate home insurance should a leak ever happen. Browse our property insurance offerings, and reach out to a Sandbox Mutual Insurance broker.