What do you do to prevent water damage when you're gone?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by SteveW, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    I just got back from a 3-day trip. I have gotten into the habit of turning off the stops to the toilets, turning off the gas to the water heaters, and shutting off the supply valves to the washing machine when I'm gone for more than a day. I just got to thinking, and realizing that obviously not every catastrophic water leak can be prevented, was wondering what other simple measures others do to prep their house for being away?
  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    the best thing I know of

    why shut down every item separately

    what about washing machine hoses bursting??

    what about outside hises being turned on while you are gone...kids do that.

    why not just shut off tthe whole hosue off at the main??

    maybe flush the toilets to relieve the pressure in the lines...

    then you know for sure........

    the gas on the heater just set on vacation...

    their isnt much else you can do
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  4. George R

    George R New Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    Central Illinois
    HA! Several years ago the family and I left on a 2 wk vacation and I shut off the main and the water heater like MPM said, but neglected to turn off the icemaker in the freezer. When we got back we had a whole trayful of light blue ice cubes. At the time we had one of the blue disinfecting tablets in the tank of the toilet.

    Best I could figure, the icemaker called for water and got it the best place it could. Given the water was off I guess it siphoned it from the toilet tank. Didn't do that again.

    I still don't fully understand how this happened, but I have no other explanation for blue ice cubes.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2006
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    For many locals it is code, and it is a good idea for anywhere - replace the toilet valve with an anti-siphon type. It should prevent this from happening. Course, the valve could be worn out and leaking already...
  6. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Aug 7, 2005

    If you had left a cold water tap in the on position at the lowest point would have relieved any slight leak through from the main valve. Remember that gate valves are not positive shut-offs.
  7. westflo

    westflo New Member

    May 3, 2011
    When I'm going away from my home for more than a day, I make sure that I turn the main valve off. In that way if there would be leaks, it would only be outside of my home.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Proper toilet fill valves will NOT siphon the water out, and even if they did, there is not enough pressure to open the icemaker solenoid valve. I do not know what happened, but what you said is the least likely to have been the cause.
  9. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Jan 5, 2008
    Test, Don't Guess!
    Land of Cheese
    If you have a well, turn off the power to the pump too.
  10. sjson

    sjson New Member

    May 10, 2011
    Ya, I would turn the main valve off. You can maybe do a routine check on the pipes in your bathroom or kitchen to see if there any damp areas that could potentially lead to leakage.
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