Are you taking a long vacation this summer? A week or longer? There’s a lengthy to-do list for before you go, and one of the main items should be to turn off the main water valve in your home. This will prevent flooding accidents while you’re away.

Why Turn Off the Water?

Lots of stuff can happen to your plumbing while you’re on vacation. If it’s winter, of course, the pipes can freeze. In all seasons, old, corroded pipes can perversely decide to burst a day after you go out of town, or a water heater can fail. Washer hoses can rupture, and pipe connections can lose their seal.

Any one of these circumstances can result in thousands of gallons of water flooding your home, damaging walls, floors, fixtures, furniture and belongings. This is why basic plumbing maintenance – shutting off the water supply – is a smart, proactive step to take.

How to Turn Off the Water

Every home has a main shutoff valve for the water supply. It’s a good idea for all home occupants to know its location, since you won’t always be around when a pipe or hose bursts.

Your home likely is equipped with either a gate shutoff valve or a ball shutoff valve. The gate valve is more common in older homes; it has a round handle that needs to be turned several times to shut the water on or off. Avoid leaving it partially open since this can deteriorate the metal and lead to valve failure. The ball water valve usually is found in newer homes.

It features a lever handle that must be turned 90 degrees in order to turn the water on or off. If the lever is parallel to the pipe, the valve is open; if it’s perpendicular, it’s closed.

Try testing your main shutoff valve by turning it off. Then turn on the water in a few different locations; the water should gradually stop. If it doesn’t, you’re doing something wrong.

For more information on basic homeowner plumbing maintenance, please contact us at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.