We're are leaving home soon for a one week vacation. I plan to shut off
the main water supply and gas water heater. (We recently had a leak in
the pipe leading to the water heater. So I want to be safe).
Somebody also suggested that I open a hot and cold water faucet (after
shutting things off) and drain to release some pressuse in the system .
But I was also told that do this way it may create some vacuum in the
pipe system that might damage the pipes.
1) Is it okay to just turn off the water supply and water heater
without releasing the pressure?
2) If not, is the vacuum a concern?
I searched the group and couldn't find a complete answer. Help will be
You should also turn off the water heat. The chances of it running dry are
very low, but why take the chance?
As for opeing a valve, ther eis very little pressure to let go. If you were
to open and close it the pressure would be eliminated in seconds and the
water still left in the lines. IMO, it does not matter.
Good idea to turn off the water. Also make sure you turn off the water
heater. It will save you heating expense, and it will also reduce the
chance of damage if you would have some sort of odd leak that caused it to
Unless its freezing out leave the water in the pipes, but it wont hurt
them with air in them. In winter if I leave for more than a day I close
the main, open a line drain and open the sink, shower valves. 1/4 turn
ball valves make it all a one minute job. In non freezing weather I just
close the main.
You had a leak in the water pipe or the gas pipe
to the water heater? Fixed? if so, don't worry
about it. Not fixed worry. If you turn off the
water or the gas, turn them off to the whole
house, not just a part.
You can open a tap after turning the water vale
off to release the pressure, but is certainly
The idea about a vacuum and possible damage to the
water pipes is beyond ridiculous. First, if the
shutoff is off, there is no way to produce a
vacuum in the pipe. Second, if the shutoff is off
and a tap is open, a vacuum cannot be produce.
And, third and most importantly, a vacuum that
would damage the water pipes cannot be developed
by any natural means. If you have a truck pull
up, and plumbers hop out and do some plumbing and
then they hook up a multi thousand dollar vacuum
pump, they might be able to cause some damage.
I shut off the water at the main and open the lowest level faucets to drain
what water wants to come out. It's more than just for relieving the line
pressure. Worst case scenario is that if your heat fails and the water
filled pipes start to freeze. The potential for a busted pipe obviously
decreases if the pipe isn't completely filled--no guarantee, but why not
increase the odds in your favor. BTW, with the main off I also open the
washing machine valve (single lever). Flush the toilets after shutting the
main valve. if gone for a long period of time I get some RV Anti Freeze and
put it in all the drains--sinks, washing machine, dishwasher, toilet, shower
Last thing I do before we leave is turn off the water and switch the water
heater to pilot mode only. I have never relieved the pressure. Can't see
where it would make much difference one way or the other.
Last winter here in Massachusetts there were some seriously cold
nights. Lots of people had to deal with damage to frozen pipes despite
homes being heated (a warning about putting plumbing in exterior
walls). I couldn't believe, though, the news story about a guy who
left for vacation (skiing?) and turned off the heat and left the water
on. I think he was trying to save on oil, but you can only imagine how
much more the damaged plumbing cost him.
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