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Should You Shut Off Your Water Before Going On Vacation?

How To Prepare Your Home Before You Travel For The Holidays

As October comes to an end, you may be starting to think about the holidays.

Are you planning to hit the road (or airways) this holiday season? If so, you want to be sure your home is well protected while you’re away, especially if it’s going to be for any length of time.

Pipe Bursting, Flooded Basement, Huff InsuranceI wrote earlier this year about travel scams and safety precautions (See Beware Of These Current Scams Here) but there’s another danger I often come across in my business that many people overlook: The risk of flooding and water damage at home due to pipe bursts, ruptured washer hoses, or other water supply line mishaps.

Believe me when I tell you that a week’s worth of leaking water can wreck your home. Even though you’re likely insured, it can take months to get things back to normal.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage is the second most common homeowners insurance claim. Yet, there’s a simple solution: Consider turning your water off before you leave.

Not sure where your main valve is, or how to switch it off? Ask your water company. And ask their advice on what else you need to do.

Not sure where your main valve is, or how to switch it off? Ask your water company. And ask their advice on what else you need to do.

For example, you might also want to:

  • Shut off individual water supply valves
  • Check your supply lines
  • Test your sump pump
  • Check your gutters and the drain at the bottom of the basement steps
  • Shut off exterior faucets and drain pipes before they freeze
  • Install other high-tech plumbing protection

To learn how to do these, see this recent article in The Family Handyman magazine: http://tinyurl.com/TFH-tips. USA Today has useful tips at http://tinyurl.com/USAT-tips

One word of warning though. If you do turn your water supply off, you also need to take care of your water heater. It should be turned to “Low” or “Vacation” (if it has this setting). Water evaporation should then be negligible.

Alternatively, simply shut down the heater too. If you don’t know how to do this safely, consult a plumber or the manufacturer.

And don’t forget to turn off the ice maker in your freezer.  Without a water supply, it could sustain damage.

If you’re uneasy about these things and prefer not to switch off your supply, as a double safety check, have a trusted neighbor or relative check your home regularly while you’re away — and make sure they know where the main shut-off valve is!

Taking these precautions should protect your home while on vacation but please note that I’m not a plumbing professional and have provided these thoughts for information only. Always speak to an expert if you’re not sure about risks and safety.

But if you want to check your coverage for water leakage in your homeowners or renters insurance policy — or any other aspect of your insurance protection, just give us a call.

Huff Insurance is a full service Independent Insurance Agent We have been dedicated to Protecting Lifestyles™ since 1960. We offer a full array of Personal Insurance, Commercial Insurance and Life Insurance & Health Insurance products. Call us at 410-647-111

Jerry Nicklow

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