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PSA: Turnoff water AND depressurize
Old 05-19-2021, 03:29 PM   #1
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PSA: Turnoff water AND depressurize

Went away for 3 weeks. Turned off the water as always, BUT did not open a faucet to depressurize the system.

Came back, and the dish washer is dripping on to the LAMINATE floor, and had been for a while.

Near as I can figure, there was a gallon (+/-) dumped, but it sat there for days (weeks?).

I am guessing the dishwasher valve has a slow leak, filled it up (not much water volume there) and it dripped for days.

Insurance has been here, and were very helpful. May get a new floor, but i just keep hitting myself in the head. Next time open a faucet.
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Old 05-19-2021, 04:15 PM   #2
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Did the dishwasher leak before your trip?

Perhaps it did, but if you used it daily, the water did not have a chance to accumulate.
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Old 05-19-2021, 06:28 PM   #3
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Depressure won't help -- you would need to drain the system. Pressure or no, the pipes hold the same volume of water (water can not be compressed). Then, you have to bleed the air out of the system when you return. And, I've been told but don't know if it is true, the seals dry out and can fail sooner if you keep draining the system. And, you might damage the ice maker in your fridge if there is no water service?
I always shut off the main water supply and did not drain the system when I left. I thought that I could handle the limited volume of water in the pipes if something burst/leaked. Your experience tells me I was wrong.
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Old 05-19-2021, 06:56 PM   #4
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Did the dishwasher leak before your trip?

Perhaps it did, but if you used it daily, the water did not have a chance to accumulate.
Never had a problem before, but I think it might have been for a while, we just did not know it because we ran it every other day. My suspicion is the 10 year old valve started to slowly leak. We would no notice.

Where I kick myself is, if I just opened a faucet in the basement, all would have been good.
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Old 05-19-2021, 07:01 PM   #5
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Depressure won't help -- you would need to drain the system. Pressure or no, the pipes hold the same volume of water (water can not be compressed). Then, you have to bleed the air out of the system when you return. And, I've been told but don't know if it is true, the seals dry out and can fail sooner if you keep draining the system. And, you might damage the ice maker in your fridge if there is no water service?
I always shut off the main water supply and did not drain the system when I left. I thought that I could handle the limited volume of water in the pipes if something burst/leaked. Your experience tells me I was wrong.
Water cannot be compressed (much), you are correct. But the copper lines have a certain amount of flex, and the hot water heater has a pressure absorbing tank.

I ran a test and got about a gallon of water after the water was shut off. Under pressure, not just draining.

A gallon does not sound like much, but if you poured it on a laminate floor, and left it there for days, it would be a problem.
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Old 05-19-2021, 07:26 PM   #6
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Yeah, the water shutoff is usually a gate valve. Good for allowing max flow, but not so good a seal.

Yeah, shut off the water and crack a cold and hot water valve anywhere, zero pressure.
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Old 05-19-2021, 07:30 PM   #7
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I agree, if you shutoff the main and open a faucet to relieve the pressure then you would not have had an issue... the water would have just sat in the pipes. If there is pressure in the piping system then it tries to find a way to get out... in this case a leaky dishwasher valve.
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Old 05-19-2021, 09:07 PM   #8
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I'm not so sure that opening up a valve would have helped, however, I would like to congratulate you for turning off the water. It seems the issue could have been much worse if the water had been on. I think it's more likely that you saved yourself a lot of damage.
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Old 05-19-2021, 09:26 PM   #9
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The water does not sit in the pipes if the gate valve leaks and you crack a tap. It drips out the tap like it always does. That's why there's no pressure, because there is flow. That's why the house is protected, the flow goes down the drain and not on the floor.
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Old 05-19-2021, 09:53 PM   #10
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Learned something new everyday…I usually just shut the main water valve off..so are you guys saying I need to drain the water in the pipe or just open one of the water faucets?
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Old 05-19-2021, 10:08 PM   #11
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While we're on the topic, here's a question I've always been curious about. Heating in my house is an in-floor hydronic system. I've never been able to get a conclusive answer whether shutting off the water for an extended period is risky or could damage the system. Since I've lived in the house, I've always left the water on during trips.

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-19-2021, 10:37 PM   #12
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Learned something new everyday…I usually just shut the main water valve off..so are you guys saying I need to drain the water in the pipe or just open one of the water faucets?
I shut off the house water, and open a basement faucet to release the pressure.
I have in the past closed the valve, but now from this discussion, I'm thinking I will leave it just barely open, to dribble out, in case the house shutoff is not completely off.

I only drained completely all the lines when I left a house in the dead of winter unoccupied for the entire winter. In case the furnace stopped I wanted to limit/eliminate water pipes freezing and exploding/cracking.
For this I turned off the water and then opened every tap in the house and left them open. It's not perfect but would save most if not all the pipes.
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Old 05-20-2021, 03:37 AM   #13
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While we're on the topic, here's a question I've always been curious about. Heating in my house is an in-floor hydronic system. I've never been able to get a conclusive answer whether shutting off the water for an extended period is risky or could damage the system. Since I've lived in the house, I've always left the water on during trips.

Any thoughts?
My plumbing is set up to isolate my domestic water from the heating system so I can turn off my domestic hot and cold water (sinks, showers, toilets, etc) but still have water going to my hydronic heating systems... one zone is in-slab radiant heat and the other zone is hot water baseboard.

When I'm away for the winter I turn off the domestic water but leave the heating on.
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Old 05-20-2021, 04:56 AM   #14
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I've never turned my water off when gone. How long do you have to be gone to bother with this?
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Old 05-20-2021, 05:31 AM   #15
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We're usually gone for 5-6 months. However, our condo association requests that residents turn off their main if they're going to be gone for a week or more because stuff happens and a water leak can do a lot of damage to your and other adjacent units.
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Old 05-20-2021, 05:47 AM   #16
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I've never turned my water off when gone. How long do you have to be gone to bother with this?
Me neither! We're a SFH and never gone more than 2 weeks (pets).
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Old 05-20-2021, 05:49 AM   #17
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I learned that lesson over the winter of 2018-2019. I moved, but hadn't sold the old house. When a cold snap came through, I turned the water off. But for whatever reason, didn't think to open any spigots inside the house, to help relieve pressure, if anything froze.

First somewhat warm day of 2019 when I was over there, got under the house and turned on the water, and out came a gusher, from the pipe that fed into the toilet.

Once I knew freezing temps were done for the season, I had a plumber come out and fix it. Well, he fixed that leak, which was the closest to the shutoff valve. Turned on the valve, and another gusher, a bit further down the line, erupts. Lather, rinse, repeat.

In the end, he fixed seven separate leaks! Now granted, some of them were pinhole leaks that had no doubt been there for years, if not decades. It's an old house, with the first part of it built in 1916. It was originally a little two-room country store with an open front porch, but by 1934 a kitchen had been built off the back, and an upstairs "apartment" (really just a front living room, middle bedroom, and back storage room) were built. So, I'd imagine some of the plumbing dates back to the 30's.

When the plumber came over, that's also when I learned there was a little twist-valve on the side of the shutoff valve, that could drain out most of the water. The house had previously had a shut off valve that was the more old-fashioned kind, where you just keep turning it until it's off, and nothing to bleed out the system. But it had gone bad, and wouldn't shut off, so I had a plumber put in one of those modern ones where you just flip it 90 degrees, oh probably 10 years or more ago. I never paid that much attention to the new one, and didn't notice it had that bleeder valve.
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Old 05-20-2021, 06:24 AM   #18
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I've never turned my water off when gone. How long do you have to be gone to bother with this?
If I'm leaving the house overnight, I shut off the water.
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Old 05-20-2021, 06:32 AM   #19
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If I'm leaving the house overnight, I shut off the water.
Same here! There is a valve at the house inlet. This allows outdoor watering system to still run.

Also shut off the gas. HVAC is electric so this doesn’t impact heating.
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Old 05-20-2021, 06:38 AM   #20
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If I'm leaving the house overnight, I shut off the water.
That seems like overkill. You are as likely to sleep through a water leak as not, so being there wouldn't make much of a difference.
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