What to do with water shutoff valves and water heater when on vacation?


Suppose you are going away for 10 days, what should you do to the water shutoff valves and the water heater in the house? I've seen recommendations that you set the house thermostat at 55 F and the water heater to "vacation" -- if the setting is available.
But what about the water shutoff valves? Is it safe/wise to close the main water shutoff valve? Will the water heater overheat because there is no water pressure, even when it's set to "vacation"?
Here's a number of "trouble scenarios" I've thought of, but I may be missing something:
1. Water heater leaks and dumps a large amount of water onto the drip pan, overflowing the latter and causing damage to the floor.
2. House loses power and pipes get frozen (and cracked). Cracked pipes floods the house when the power returns and the pipes unfrozen.
3. (Described above) Main water shutoff closed. Water heater overheats because there is not water pressure.
Should I close the main water shutoff valve, as well as the shutoff valves to the appliances, BUT open the faucets to allow freezing water some room to expand, just in case the pipes got frozen?
Any thoughts?
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Stay home.
Seriously, one should not project all kinds of what ifs unless one enjoys paranoia.
I kill the breaker to the hot water heater and shut off the main water supply.
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Yep!
I do a "rural" variation of this: I shut off the power to the water heater and also the power to the deep well pump.
If the "worse" happens, the total amount of water dumped would be less that 100 gallons and most of that would not do that much damage but simply run out the basement back door.
If you have "city" water and the main shut off works OK, then after the shutoff valve is close, you just relieve the residual pressure by opening a tap for a few seconds.
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Make sure you have replacement cost homeowners insurance.
Turn off the water heater.
Set the house to 55.
Have fun.
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Thats what I do.

No, why should it?

Then you can consider yourself lucky it leaks while the water was off!

Takes days for a normal house to cool off like that. Leave a key with a neighbor; odds are their power went off also.

Why?
Could, but it won't help any.

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mtco wrote:

<SNIP>
People who don't live where it gets bitter cold may not appreciate the danger of pipes freezing.
If you lose power and the heat goes out for 12-24 hrs when it is 20 below zero, you can be pretty certain that pipes will freeze. Maybe not *all* of them, just the one that's most vulnerable.
Typical scenario where I live: Pipe freezes on 3rd floor (OK, 2nd floor). Pipe ruptures. Thaws out or the ice plug pops out. Water flows day and night, cascading down the beautiful oak stairway and soaking all the ceilings and all the new furniture, etc.
Kiss the house goodbye.
Even in a 1 floor slab house, freezing will not only burst pipes and flood but toilet tanks and bowls will go, water heater tank will burst, all appliances with water connections will be damaged.
And on and on.
The real fun begins when the adjuster arrives.
If you're going away, shut the Main water supply off. At least that will avoid a big flood. Beyond that are steps to drain piping and winterize traps and bowls and tanks.
Pick your risk level and choose...
Jim
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put in a temperature sensor and a water sensor on your home alarm system with a dialer to your cellphone. have your neighbors set up in advance with housekeys. bring their phone numbers along for your trip away. have mom come over to get the mail and visit the dog. once she heard the gushing basement water of a frozen pipe and called our good neighbor who fixed the break and everything was fine when i got home after a week away.
mtco wrote:

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mtco wrote:

Frankly I am lucky to remember to turn the water heater off. I do usually remember to turn the heat - AC down. I can't do too much since I leave two cars at home.
I do suggest that turning the heat down and turning off the water heater is the best idea. The other stuff is OK but it can get you into trouble. First turning off the water at any time means you should turn off the water heater - all the way off. Second the water shutoff valve on older homes don't always work well after years of non-use. You can start a leak there before you go and you may find your trip postponed while you get that fixed.
Have good paid up insurance and have fun.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
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mtco wrote:

Watch out for your set-back thermostats. Those zones will freeze first.
Where will the water from a broken pipe flow. I had a lot of trouble with my water heater. I have a slab house and the leaking water heater just flowed water into the garage and out to the driveway.
But sometimes sh*t happens. You can't protect against everything.
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One of the biggest sources of insurance claims is ruptured washing machine hoses. All you need to do there is turn off the valves and then turn the machine on for just a couple seconds to relieve the pressure on the lines.
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I turn the main water valve off, turn the gas water heater to pilot, and turn the heat down to 45. How low you can safely go on the heat depends on the weather, the home construction, the type of heat, location of pipes, etc.
An example of how trouble can occur. I was away for a week and had done the above. Upon returning, when I turned the water back on, there was now a leak coming from the plastic nut on the bottom of the toilet tank, where the ballcock meets the riser supply line. Apparently, the change in temp as the house cooled off was enough to cause it to begin to leak. Had the water been on and just the temp set way back, I would have returned to what could have been a real problem.
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C & E wrote:

Home Depot now sells washing machine hoses that automatically cut off if the flow suddenly exceeds (approx) 2.5 gph.
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C & E wrote:

Ha! About 10 years ago, my mom was visiting us in Phoenix from Illinois. We were sitting in the family room talking, and she started worrying about whether she should have shut off the water before she left. As we were talking, I gradually became aware of the sound of running water, looked around, and noticed water creeping toward the family room from the laundry room. Ran in there, shut off the burst hose, and managed to suck up the water on the tile floor before it got anywhere where it could do some damage. Replaced the washer hoses with the ones that have the braided armor, and now I always turn off the water to the washer when we go away for more than a day. Of course, this didn't do any good for my mother's peace of mind - she worried about her water until she got back home.
Jerry
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electric automatic solenoid valves are available for washers. water off unless machine is on.
My dad lives in phoenix, a realtive stopped to check on pets found water running out of doors, a warter filter under kitchen sink had burst. insurance paid for it all
I went on vacation from pittsburgh to visit my dad in phoenix. had nice week away in warmth.
one week later the day I got home my furnace quit working. If that had happened a week earlier my home would of been trashed with temps around zero:(
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I did this. I went away for a few days. Turned off water, turned off water heater[gas and electric].
That was me.
later,
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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