turn water off for 10-week absence?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by xrt678, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Hello,

    I have received mixed advice on this question.

    I'll be leaving my condo for the summer and have a friend checking on the place 1x week.

    Would you recommend shutting the water off?

    Some have said this releases pressure in the system and gaskets dry out. I actually had an issue of this last summer with the water off where the shower handle got a leak that wasn't there before I left.

    On the other hand there is peace of mind knowing the place isn't going to flood due to some unfortunate leak.

    Thank you!
  2. DougB

    DougB Member

    Turn it off.
  3. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thank you - when turning off the water should I shut BOTH valves? There are two - one that is 'owned by the city' on the wall-side of the meter and then the one owned by me, on the other side of the meter.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,487
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Either one is adequate. i assume you have neither a swimming pool or an irrigation system.
  5. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Florida
    Definitely turn off the water! Another thing to do is turn off circuit breaker to water heater if it's electric and switch off icemaker in refrigerator.

    I travel between homes and sometimes I'm gone from one for several weeks. Any time I leave, even overnight, I turn off water, throw water heater breaker and turn off ice maker in refrigerator.

    I had dinner last week with a friend who left his condo here in Florida for the winter and did not turn off the water. His ice maker supply line to his refrigerator developed a leak and caused over $30,000 damage. Damage was not covered by insurance because the leak was over long period of time. He had horrible mold that required tearing out walls and ceilings with mold remediation. The house was mush.
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,071
    Location:
    IL
    I would empty the fridge, turn off the fridge, and prop the doors open. Saves electricity.
  7. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I don't have a swimming pool or irrigation.

    Are there any recommendations for the gaskets in the faucets and such drying out?

    My water heater is gas...with a fan for ventilation. I was planning on switching it off (the fan and water heater).

    Thank you for the point about the ice maker. And also the fridge, Reach4. I might do that.

    What would you set the thermostat at?
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,071
    Location:
    IL
    House thermostat? AC off. Heat at 45.
  9. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    But these are the summer months. So it could get blazing inside the house. You'd leave the AC off? ...and the heat on?! It will definitely not get down to 45 F.
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,071
    Location:
    IL
    Some people would leave the AC on set to 85 or 90 to provide a better environment for the furniture. If you have oil paintings that might make a difference. I don't, so I would not run the AC. On second thought, maybe your candles need protecting too.

    Regarding 45, that is as low as most home thermostats go. That would probably protect you from freezing if your trip took a lot longer than planned.
  11. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thank you! That makes sense.
  12. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Florida
    You may want to search local power company web site for recommendations on air conditioning setting when gone for extended periods. Here in South Florida power company recommends setting non programmable thermostat at 82 deg. For programmable thermostats set it to 72 deg for 2 hours before sun up and then 84 degrees rest if the day. This has the effect of sucking out moisture and preventing mold.

    That is how we set ours. When gone for a month the AC runs about 1 1/2 hours in that 2 hours early morning period. The house is noticeably dry and odor free when we return. The electric bill runs about $35/month when set this way. The only things drawing power, other than AC program, is the refrigerator, alarm system, Internet modem, router, several wifi cameras and a few table lamps on timers.

    I have wifi thermostats at my properties so I can monitor AC settings, usage interior temp remotely. Here is usage yesterday as recorded by wifi thermostat.

    [​IMG]


    Here is local power company log of energy usage from their web site for the same day at the vacant property.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  13. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    This is great JerryR! I emailed my electric company to ask about specifics, but the 72 for a couple of pre-dawn hours and then to 84 the rest of the time sounds excellent.
  14. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Florida
    Here is the link to FP&L recomendations. I was slightly off on my temps. This may help you.

    http://www.fpl.com/residential/energy_saving/seasonal/leave.shtml
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  15. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thank you! There are specific temps recommended for condos which is my situation.
  16. edwardh1

    edwardh1 Member

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    South Carolina
    off

    =======
    we cut off if gone overnight or longer. Have had 2 major leaks in 25 years, that why we do it.
    t and P valve on water heater lifted, and line from meter leaked, so that why we do it.
    takes one minute
    if I were king there would be a law requiring easily accessible water cut off valve, like in the garage
  17. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida Member

    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Lake Worth, Florida
    Turn off the water. Gaskets in faucets are made of rubber like material, and they will not dry out. In the winter months and if you have a circulating hot water heating system that will need to be operating so the place doesn't freeze, the water may need to be kept on.

    I maintain a second home in the Orlando, Fl area and the biggest concern we have is not the temp but the humidity. I had Bright House Networks install a home security system where every thing is wireless and accessible from the internet. It included a remote control thermostat and camera. Their thermostat does not have a built in humidstat. I bought a LCD screen humidity meter (found it on line) and I place it near the camera. From anywhere I log-on to the security system, look at the camera and if the humidity is too high I can lower the temp to cool and dehumidify the house. Right now (June) I keep it at 78 degrees and the A/C does run because I'll see that the room temp is 78.5. and the humidity at 46 percent.

    Honeywell now has a complete line of wireless thermostats, check there web site and with their app you can get access to the thermostat. They might have a humidstat model.

    Some home security systems do have water detection sensors. They can be placed in various areas such as the bathrooms, kitchens and water heater. Should water ever be detected, it will signal the alarm company. If you get one installed you get a discount from your home owners insurance company.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  18. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida Member

    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Lake Worth, Florida
    At the gas water heater just lower the thermostat as low as possible. If you shut off the gas you'll have to relight the pilot light, if you have one.
  19. xrt678

    xrt678 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    This is the response I got...

    Thank you for your email.

    I would recommend contacting a heating/cooling contractor to address you concerns regarding an appropriate thermostat setting for while you are gone.


    :confused:

    ...thanks for the great help, electric company!
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