This post will answer the question, “Should you leave faucets open when water is turned off,” and provide solutions if the unexpected occurs.
With all the preparations for an extended vacation, only a few homeowners remember to adjust their faucets as they prepare for the holidays.
The worst part about that is if you don’t care for your water system as you leave for a vacation, you risk spoiling your entire water system.
In return, this will affect the flow of water in your house and the general functioning of your equipment. Therefore, if you plan to leave your home in winter, you should protect your property from the harsh weather before you go.
Should You Leave Faucets Open When Water Is Turned Off?
You should leave the faucets open when the water is turned off to prevent pressure build-up from water that may have remained.
The most critical step before leaving your house is to turn off your water supply from the main outlet. Doing this will protect your property from flooding if your pipes crack or burst because of freezing.
In most cases, the leaks will start by dripping slowly. And if you don’t take care of the drips, the leaks will then extend and become heavy leaks which can quickly flood your house.
Usually, the pipes take a few hours to burst after they start cracking.
When your pipes start leaking, they attract various plants and roots because of the increased moisture.
Consequently, when the plants grow around your pipes and drainage system, they cause your lines to block, which eventually destroys your property.
Therefore, turn off the water from the main outlet before leaving your house for a vacation to prevent your pipes and drainage system from blocking. You will usually find the main outlet in the slab, attic, or basement. However, you can still find it in the utility box near your sidewalk.
Protecting Water Pipes in Winter
If you plan to leave your house for a vacation, drain all the water from the pipes. The main intention of this step is to protect your pipes from bursting because of the excess pressure from frozen water.
Usually, when water begins to freeze, it also begins to expand. It then traps moisture inside the pipes, which results in busted pipes.
Therefore, if you want to avoid finding your property floating on pools of water, we advise that you drain all the water from your pipes. You can also leave the water to drip; this will keep water flowing, preventing it from freezing.
Your outdoor and attic pipes are more prone to freezing because they lack insulation. Therefore, before you leave, you should ensure you drain the excess water lest you find them bursting when you return from your vacation.
After you drain your pipes, ensure you disconnect them from the faucets. After that, insulate the open lines to reduce the intensity of the damage resulting from the extreme weather. You can use old clothes and idle paper to protect your pipes.
But the best solution to protect your pipes from freezing is to use high-quality materials for your pipes.
However, if you can’t protect your pipes from freezing, you can still prevent them from bursting. You should open your windows and shelves to allow air to circulate to the hidden parts of your house. You can also use a dump towel with warm water to thaw your frozen pipes.
Leaking Faucets and Running Toilet
The technicians designed your house to have several pipes running through the critical area of your home. However, due to various factors like air, the pipes may start to corrode, which will then cause your pipes to start leaking.
It’s easy to ignore if your faucet leaks because it will only lose a few drops. However, if you don’t fix the leak, you could lose up to 3000 gallons of water yearly.
Therefore, you should always fix your broken pipes and check for any leaking pipes to avoid wasting water and extreme water bills.
If you plan to leave your house for an extended time, you should also flush your toilets to drain all the water from your tanks. The reason is that your heating system could break while you’re on vacation; the frozen water in your toilet will break the porcelain, which can be messy.
You should also check if your toilet has any broken parts to prevent water from running while you’re away.
Should You Turn off the Water Heater?
Usually, manufacturers design most water heaters to maintain temperatures between 50-60 degrees Celsius. However, if your tank components begin to break, the excess heat could cause the pressure within the tank to increase, leading to a tank burst.
Therefore, if yours is an electric heater, you should turn it off before you leave to cut off any chances of a tank burst and save on electric bills. However, remember to turn on the water supply before switching on the electric water heater when you return.
On the other hand, gas heaters are ideal when leaving for a vacation because they have various options. Therefore, choose the vacation mode on your water heater before your holiday. Usually, a gas heater can take about an hour to turn on, making it the best to use while on vacation.
Different water heaters have their instructions. Therefore, you should check your manual for instructions to switch it off before taking any step. You can also contact a technician if you need help switching your water heater off.
Other Essential Steps to Prevent Water Damage
Once you take care of your plumbing system, you should switch off your dishwasher, washing machine, and all the other apparatus that use water in your house.
Usually, you will find most leaks on the joints of the pipes. Therefore, you should never forget to turn off the water supply, lest you risk flooding your house when the pipes burst.
Hot water systems are usually at a greater risk of having hammers because they have high pressure than the other systems. Therefore, if you have water systems, you should turn off the valves to avoid bursting when the pressure inside the systems increases.
That said, the most essential step before you leave for a vacation is to check your plumbing system for any broken and faulty pipes to repair them.
The main intention of this step is to protect your property from the effects of ruptured pipes and to save you on the high repair costs. Ensure you call a plumber annually to inspect your entire plumbing system.
Why Is It Important to Turn off the Water?
If your pipes burst, they will cause extreme flooding that can be costly. Therefore, you should always turn off the water from the main outlet to prevent such messes.
While most people recommend that you turn off the water system if you’re leaving for a long time, it’s equally important to turn them off even when you’re going for a few hours.
Here are the main reasons why;
1. Potentially Massive Damage
Water and fire are the top causes of home ruins. If your pipes are frozen and leaking, you’re setting yourself up for a massive mess in your house. To stop that, you should fix any broken pipe and heater, then turn off the water from the main supply before leaving for your vacation.
2. Potentially Massive Costs
While insurance covers most repair costs, you will still need to make some replacements from your pocket. Flood affects your electric system, which is rarely covered by insurance. So, you’ll need to finance them from your pocket.
Additionally, insurance policies work by minimizing repair costs. Therefore it may be a while before you receive any money from them. And when they send it, it’s usually much less than you spent.
Worst of all, your insurance company can opt to void your claim based on negligence. This often happens if you don’t turn the water off from your main outlet before you leave for a vacation.
Residential insurance claims operate with the assumption that you’ll be in the house tending over it daily. Therefore, if damage happens while nobody is around to protect your home from damage, the insurance company may opt to void the claim.
Therefore, you should take all the necessary steps to prevent damage to your pipes when you leave for a vacation.
3. The Potential Massive Stress and Inconvenience
Waiting for a decision from the insurance company can be stressful. You may also have to rent a house or a hotel before they fix your home, which can be inconvenient.
Let’s not forget the emotional stress from seeing your special items destroyed by flooding. It is a horrible encounter that you should protect yourself from at all costs.
Therefore, you should always turn off your water system from the main outlet before you leave for any time. Doing this will save you lots of cash from repairs and the emotional stress of seeing your special items go to waste.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should You Open a Faucet When Turning off the Water?
If you plan to leave your house for an extended period, open your sink and tub faucets to the maximum. The main intention is to relieve your pipe’s pressure so it can completely go off. You should do this for all your lines as you drain the excess water.
2. Why Is It Important to Turn Off the Faucet When Not in Use?
Turning off your faucets when you’re not using water is meant to save water. Calculations show that tiny wastage drops could add up to about 150 gallons of water each month. The excess wasted water can put a strain on your water bills as well.
3. What Happens When I Turn the Faucets On?
When you turn off the faucets, the screw will turn in the opposite direction and close the tap opening. In return, this will stop water from flowing from the taps. This principle is used on all the other pipes in your house.
4. How Long Does It Take To Get Air Out of Water Pipes?
After you turn the faucets and the fixtures on, it will take about 10- 15 minutes for all the air to escape from the pipes. You will know the air has escaped when you stop hearing popping sounds as the water flows.
You will also see the water flowing steadily to the ground. However, ensure you turn the water on to push the air out faster.
5. What Is the Purpose of the Faucet?
The faucet is the element that transfers water from the tank to the required area. It has the following features;
- Lift rod
- Water inlet
- Mixing area
When you turn the water on, the valve will adjust the water flow per your requirements.