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Old 11-01-2014, 03:06 PM   #41
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I don't have fire sprinklers, but some areas are requiring fire sprinklers in single family dwellings. Does the main water shutoff valve disable the sprinklers too?
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:15 PM   #42
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I don't have fire sprinklers, but some areas are requiring fire sprinklers in single family dwellings. Does the main water shutoff valve disable the sprinklers too?
My condo building in Az has separate water lines for sprinklers and individual condo (townhouse) units. Tenants/owners cannot shut off the sprinkler lines
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:22 PM   #43
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The pipe that delivers water to a home is too small for firefighting. The firemen either hook up to a hydrant or use a truck with it's own water tank.
Exactly. I think the pipe running from my well to the house is 1". In northern Illinois, new city water water mains are a minimum 8" diameter. These 8" pipes are sufficient are residential fire fighting.

Most fire departments have tanker trucks with sufficient water to put out a residential fire. I live in an area of lakes with no water mains and therefore no fire hydrants. , The fire department installed a "dry hydrant" in the lake. It rises out of the water a foot or so and has a fitting that firemen can use to replenish the water supply in their tanker trucks using lake water if needed.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:49 AM   #44
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I have one of those devices that monitor temperature, and the power, when we get a power failure, or flood it phones me and 2 other programmed numbers.
It works as it has called me a couple of times. Its called "Home Sitter" .
I tested it for flood phoning and it worked.
You need a land line for it to work during power failure as landlines have their own power, but I'm thinking it would also work with internet phone if you added a 15 min battery backup (kind used on computers) to the router and internet phone box.
The device itself uses 9v or AA batteries, its the phone that needs to work in power failure that is the tricky part.
Flooding is no issue as electricity would still be on for a while to get out the phone calls.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:02 AM   #45
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I have not been turning off the house water and this bit us.
When we returned from a 2 week trip. I found the downstairs toilet shutoff had started to leak right where the knob is turned.
It was about $150 of water and a new bathroom cabinet, new shutoff, and some wall-boards.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:52 AM   #46
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Timely thread, as the temperature hit 22 degrees last night, and we will be preparing to winterize soon! With a new (110 year old) house, I am updating my plans.

Not turning off water is a risk in any climate. In our townhome in Florida, ruptured plastic connections at toilets are common, causing upwards of $40,000 damage.

If you just rely on heat, that can fail in a power outage. We have had two lengthy ones caused by ice storms in the past 30 years. Yeah, maybe you were lucky last winter, but you are rolling the dice.

Considering my remote thermostat options at the moment. At the previous home, I had an HP that was very user friendly, and it had a great app for smart phone. I was leaning to a NEST based on earlier thread. ADT has offered a thermostat for $160 (uninstalled), so don't know if it is any good. They have a couple other adders to for lamps, light switches, and cameras. We will be making decisions today for those. Tuesday is install day.
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:17 AM   #47
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I just came back from winterizing our vacation home in NW PA. I keep the water on but shut off the flow right before it leaves the basement and just after the baseboard heating pipes. I keep the heat on at 54 degrees all winter. I use RV anti freeze in the toilets and drains but didn't think about putting bleach in also. I like that idea since I always come back to moldy toilets. I put plastic wrap over the toilets for the first time this year to dry and reduce evaporation. I also use a compressor to help blow out the pipes.

Does anyone know on baseboard heating if I need to keep the water on for the system to work properly? If I keep the existing water in that part of the system and turn the water main off are there going to be issues?


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Old 11-17-2014, 05:37 PM   #48
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I was thinking of the day to day issue. After all if one is gone for a couple of hours and a hose bursts it can still do a lot of damage.
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You buy washing machine hoses that have a braided steel outer layer. Probably a good idea in any case.

GE 4 ft. Stainless Steel Universal Washer Hoses (2-Pack)-PM14X10005DS at The Home Depot
This is a low-cost upgrade and definitely worthwhile. I know two different people who had their cheaper hoses fail while on vacations, costing thousands of dollars of damage in both cases. We also turn the water off to the entire house when we leave for more than a weekend and leave the furnace on at 50 degrees in the winter.
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:45 PM   #49
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Here's sort of a "belt and suspenders" solution to burst washing machine hoses -


FloodSafeŽ Automatic Water Shutoff Connectors - What's New - Watts
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:13 PM   #50
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Those flood safe connectors are a good idea, unfortunately for me, when we had our leak it was the shut-off tap itself that gave way.
This is a tap in the downstairs bathroom that we never had touched, so its not like we wore it out turning it on/off. The water was squirting out right where the handle stem goes into the value.
Since then, I replaced all the downstairs shutoff valves with the new 1/4 turn type.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:38 AM   #51
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I used to have 2 seasonal homes, and did the water shut off thing and turn the heat down to 50. I only had one problem, in that my utility room with the gas furnace and boiler was required by code to have fresh air venting in the form of 2 6" or 8" pipes. It made that room very cold and froze the plastic lines that fed to the in floor radiant heating. I hadn't thought to drain those.

When I talked to a plumber, he said I had to be close to having a big enough room to not need the vents, especially if I put a vented door to the inside or just left it open. I did the math and sure enough I was barely over, so I stuffed them with insulation and got a CO2 monitor, and leave the door open. The cats like to go in there and hunt for mice anyway.

So, if you have a similar setup with water pipes in a room with outside venting, consider plugging up those vents while you are away and leave the door to the room open. I'd also research it yourself or check with an HVAC person to make sure it's safe to do while you are away.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:50 AM   #52
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How much extra wear and tear does turning the main water valve on/off regularly place on it? I am just thinking of the massive damage which would result if that valve gave way.

Also, for those of you who do shut off the water at the main house inlet, what is the length of trip prompting this? I am thinking a burst pipe, valve, etc. could do a great deal of damage in the course of a day, weekend, etc.

Personally, I have never shut off the water when traveling; but, I will be leaving for two weeks in mid-winter this season and am considering it for that trip.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:29 AM   #53
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I used to have 2 seasonal homes, and did the water shut off thing and turn the heat down to 50. I only had one problem, in that my utility room with the gas furnace and boiler was required by code to have fresh air venting in the form of 2 6" or 8" pipes. It made that room very cold and froze the plastic lines that fed to the in floor radiant heating. I hadn't thought to drain those.

When I talked to a plumber, he said I had to be close to having a big enough room to not need the vents, especially if I put a vented door to the inside or just left it open. I did the math and sure enough I was barely over, so I stuffed them with insulation and got a CO2 monitor, and leave the door open. The cats like to go in there and hunt for mice anyway.

So, if you have a similar setup with water pipes in a room with outside venting, consider plugging up those vents while you are away and leave the door to the room open. I'd also research it yourself or check with an HVAC person to make sure it's safe to do while you are away.
Of course if you are away, nobody other than the mice will die from CO2 poisoning
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:35 AM   #54
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How much extra wear and tear does turning the main water valve on/off regularly place on it? I am just thinking of the massive damage which would result if that valve gave way.....
It's just a regular tap, so you should be good for couple thousand cycles. Of course it will be stiff and hard to use the first few times.

Just to be safe, try it now to shut off, leave off for an hour, and then turn it back on. See that nothing weird happens, and you are there to deal with it if it does.

My house water has 2 on/off taps, one before the meter and 1 after the meter, so to be cautious I would turn off the one after the meter, and if it starts leaking I can turn off the other one while waiting for a plumber.

Did I scare you, I didn't mean to, I've turned my off a few times when doing plumbing repairs.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:53 AM   #55
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Without adequate air flow into the furnace room, you not only risk CO build up (not CO2 - carbon dioxide, fizzy stuff in beer and soda. CO is Carbon Monoxide - very bad. CO2 mostly is dangerous just because it displaces oxygen, like in a fire extinguisher), but you run the risk of a back-draft.

The fire will start flaring out of the furnace, it can't get out the chimney w/o air coming in. This can cause a fire. Furnaces have 'roll-out' temperature detectors. But I saw a demo video on youtube, and that fire looked pretty nasty before the flame sensor got hot enough to kick the gas off. I would not want to rely on it.

If having the room open meets code, I would literally take the door off the hinges before you plug the air vents to that room. And take a picture. That way, if there is a problem, at least you could prove you were in code.

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Old 11-18-2014, 03:48 PM   #56
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This is a timely subject since we will be hitting the road for a few weeks traversing the country visiting folks. We have several shutoffs...the one at the meter, one just after it comes in the house and another the shuts off water to the kitchen side of the house (came in VERY handy when we burst a pipe last winter and couldn't get it fixed for a few days!). Anyway, I am thinking of shutting the water off at the meter but is there any harm in leaving the water heater (gas) on the vacation mode? Is there any reason it would HAVE to be totally shut off?
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:38 PM   #57
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This is a timely subject since we will be hitting the road for a few weeks traversing the country visiting folks. We have several shutoffs...the one at the meter, one just after it comes in the house and another the shuts off water to the kitchen side of the house (came in VERY handy when we burst a pipe last winter and couldn't get it fixed for a few days!). Anyway, I am thinking of shutting the water off at the meter but is there any harm in leaving the water heater (gas) on the vacation mode? Is there any reason it would HAVE to be totally shut off?
I don't know if there is any harm in leaving it in vacation mode, but I have shut mine off without any ill-effects.
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:12 PM   #58
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I used to turn off my water heater when vacationing for a week or more. But I found it a pain to turn back on, so now I just turn it down really low.
My dial does not have a vacation setting.
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City Shutoff when Meter Inside House
Old 11-18-2014, 05:22 PM   #59
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City Shutoff when Meter Inside House

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....
1. Call the city, and have them turn the water off at the line that runs from the street. Four feet underground....
I like this idea for longer trips, especially in winter; but, my meter is inside the house, mounted on the basement wall, with one of those remote reader gadgets. (Gas meeter is the same.)

So, I am assuming no convenient way to shut off the water (me or the city) before it gets into the house. Am I missing something?
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:30 PM   #60
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I like this idea for longer trips, especially in winter; but, my meter is inside the house, mounted on the basement wall, with one of those remote reader gadgets. (Gas meeter is the same.)

So, I am assuming no convenient way to shut off the water (me or the city) before it gets into the house. Am I missing something?
Likely there is a small plate that hides the valve near where the main water line comes in. Where this valve may be depends on where in the country you live and the age of the house. In Tx typically the city shutoff will be near the meter since you don't have to bury the pipes very deep (6 inches will do). Otherwise from where the water pipe comes in, go towards the street and look for plate. Where it freezes as noted the valve and entry pipe will be up to 4 or more feet deep. (Last winter I read that in parts of In they did not bury the pipes deep enough and supply lines froze up)
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