Turn off your water before leaving on spring break
Flip-flops? Check. Sunscreen? Yep. Trashy beach novel? Oh, yeah.
Water valve shut off?
Wait ... what?
Before you escape to sun and sand on spring break, protect your home in a surprising but important way:
Shut off your main water valve.
Water damage – not fire or windstorm – is the No. 1 cause of homeowner claims. It takes just minutes for a burst pipe, ruptured appliance hose, or failed water heater to do thousands of dollars in water damage to your home.
Imagine what they could do if left to gush unnoticed for days while you're gone!
Here's what to do:
Find the main water valve to turn off water to your entire home. Depending on the age and construction of your home, it could be located in a number of places, including the basement, garage, next to the water heater, or even under the kitchen sink. You also have a shutoff valve outside, adjacent to your in-ground water meter near the street. (The street valve often needs a special wrench or "key" available at hardware stores. But it may be the best choice if your plumbing is old and indoor valves are brittle.)
Depending on the type of hot water heater you have, experts vary in their opinion on whether or not you also should shut it off when turning off water to the house. Consult your owner's manual or plumber on the best plan for your particular unit and the steps needed to properly shut it down.
The one time you shouldn't shut off your water? If you have an automatic fire sprinkler system. Or if you have irrigation pipes automatically watering your garden plants on a timer.
PEMCO's Top 10 Most-Preventable Homeowner Claims for more tips on keeping your home water-safe.