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Shutting Off the Water Before Heading Out
Old 02-27-2020, 10:53 AM   #1
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Shutting Off the Water Before Heading Out

We are heading out tomorrow for our first long trip (5 weeks) since my retirement (Woo-hoo! ) There was a thread a while back ("Leaving a House Unoccupied for Long Periods) that was very helpful. In fact, it was only after reading that thread to the DW that she was convinced it would be a good idea to shut off our water before heading out.

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm one of the least mechanically inclined people alive and my dilemma is that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do.

We are on a well. Is it as simple as shutting off our well pump? Or, is there something else I should do? Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:59 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by CoolRich59 View Post
We are heading out tomorrow for our first long trip (5 weeks) since my retirement (Woo-hoo! ) There was a thread a while back ("Leaving a House Unoccupied for Long Periods) that was very helpful. In fact, it was only after reading that thread to the DW that she was convinced it would be a good idea to shut off our water before heading out.

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm one of the least mechanically inclined people alive and my dilemma is that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do.

We are on a well. Is it as simple as shutting off our well pump? Or, is there something else I should do? Thanks!
I'll admit, I don't know anything about getting water from a well....but I would think that your house has a "main" shutoff for water usage in the house.

Whenever I leave for more than a few days, I always shutoff the water at the street (where the city water reaches my property). I've heard too many horror stories of people being away only to find that something in their house has sprung a leak while they were away.
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:59 AM   #3
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I don't have a well, but I believe you are correct.
By shutting off the power to the well pump, it cannot pump water which it would normally do if a leak (pipe) suddenly gave way.

<edit> You should also afterwards open a tap for a minute to release the pressure, as the pressure tank will have 10-20 gal in it ready to leak out (if something sprang a leak)
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:06 AM   #4
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I'm on a well at one of my houses, and that's all I do. I drain the pipes by opening an outside (lowest level) hose bibb and a few of the upstairs faucets. I pour RV antifreeze into drains and toilets, and turn off the well pump at the switch. I leave the house for 6 months at a time, and haven't ever had a problem based. At least not from water issues. Those damn raccoons that moved into my attic last year are a different story, but the cameras with motion detectors seem to be a good solution for that one.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:09 AM   #5
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Our previous home had a well. The well technicians told us to just pull the plug on the pump - simplest solution ever, don't have to worry about where are the shut-off valves (one of ours required a ladder and reaching around under the finished basement ceiling) etc.

In the winter, we just ran the outdoor spigots after turning off the water, to ensure no frozen pipes. The pipes made a bit of noise when we turned the water back on - air displacement.

To be 100% sure, do what we did, and call your well technician for advice. (If you don't know your tech, you should!)
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:09 AM   #6
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Thanks. I was hoping it was relatively simple.

I'm just going to cut the power to the well pump and then run the faucets until the lines drain.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:15 AM   #7
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I also lower the temp of the house to about 63, when we leave in the winter.
If I was leaving Chicagoland I'd still do it at this time.

If we leave in spring/summer I either shutoff the furnace, or set the A/C to 85, so it only comes on during extreme heat times.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:18 AM   #8
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If you have an ice maker in your freezer, I was told to turn that off too. Otherwise it might be calling for more water to make more cubes, and I guess it could burn out if there's no water to freeze. Not sure of the veracity of that, but I do it.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolRich59 View Post
We are heading out tomorrow for our first long trip (5 weeks) since my retirement (Woo-hoo! ) There was a thread a while back ("Leaving a House Unoccupied for Long Periods) that was very helpful. In fact, it was only after reading that thread to the DW that she was convinced it would be a good idea to shut off our water before heading out.

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm one of the least mechanically inclined people alive and my dilemma is that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do.

We are on a well. Is it as simple as shutting off our well pump? Or, is there something else I should do? Thanks!
What is your heat source and does that heat source need water? Probably not but something to consider.

If your heat source doesn't require water usually there is a valve where the water comes into the house from the well but before the water pressure tank... just turn that valve off.

We have radiant and hot water baseboard that does require water but I have hot and cold water valves just after the heat source for pipes that go to the pex manifold so I just turn those two valves off and I'm all set. The only pressurized water is in the utility room for the radiant heat and hot waterbaseboard and the utility room is mostly below grade so even if we lost heat that corner of the basement is unlikely to freeze before I noticed that we lost heat and sent the repairman out to fix it.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:28 AM   #10
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Thanks. I was hoping it was relatively simple.

I'm just going to cut the power to the well pump and then run the faucets until the lines drain.
That's all I do...minus the faucet drain as I am rarely away for a day or 2 in Winter. I switch off the well pump even when I go away for a weekend. I put a wall switch on it to make it easier.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:38 AM   #11
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We have a boiler too. During the winter month travels we need to keep the water on. One of those damned if you do or damned if you don't things I guess. During non-freezing travels, we do a few things. We shut off the water heater, we pull power to the pump and we also shut the valve on the pressure tank.

We came back from a trip a few years ago and had the tank fail about 2 hours after returning. Some 20-30 gallons (?) from the tank and well pump were emptied! At least we were there to shut off the pump.

From a different perspective, having a well pump is not much different from having city water. I never gave a thought about shutting off the water when we were on city water. The same problems could occur.
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:36 PM   #12
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I also lower the temp of the house to about 63, when we leave in the winter.
If I was leaving Chicagoland I'd still do it at this time.
Yes. We have a Nest thermometer which will go into Eco mode after a few hours. I already set a reminder on my phone to remember to take it out of Eco mode the morning we head back.

We dodged a bullet here earlier this week. WGN was reporting that we were going to have a major storm, dumping 5 or more inches of heavy wet snow. We're up in the far northwest suburbs and we got less than an inch of snow (not that I'm complaining! )

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If you have an ice maker in your freezer, I was told to turn that off too. Otherwise it might be calling for more water to make more cubes, and I guess it could burn out if there's no water to freeze. Not sure of the veracity of that, but I do it.
Thanks. I'll turn that off.

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If your heat source doesn't require water usually there is a valve where the water comes into the house from the well but before the water pressure tank... just turn that valve off.
Yes. There is a valve where the water line comes into the house from the well. I will shut that off too.
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:41 PM   #13
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Well pump is shut off by turning off the breaker for the well in the breaker box.

Also turn off your hot water heater(breaker if an electric water heater), water softener/filter if you have one, and shut off the main water supply valve.

I also drain a little water from the lines also.
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:49 PM   #14
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We have a Boiler (forced hot water) with 5 zones, and I notice there's a feed/valve for new water, when needed I guess..so not sure if it's ok to shut off the main house valve for a trip.


I'm thinking this valve rarely gets used, and is only for purging the system?
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Old 02-27-2020, 01:02 PM   #15
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I have a well pump and I just flip off the breaker for the pump. I also have a hot water recirculating pump that maintains hot water to the bath at the far end of the house. Once, I forgot to shut this pump off and it filled the well tank with hot water, which I'm sure was not good for the bladder inside.
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Old 02-27-2020, 01:06 PM   #16
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I'll admit, I don't know anything about getting water from a well....but I would think that your house has a "main" shutoff for water usage in the house.

Whenever I leave for more than a few days, I always shutoff the water at the street (where the city water reaches my property). I've heard too many horror stories of people being away only to find that something in their house has sprung a leak while they were away.
co worker had one of those convenient upper-level washer/dryers. Water line pressurized and popped off after they set the wash cycle and headed out for dinner. Came home from a lovely dinner to find that the Second story had flooded down to the main, and the main had flooded down to the lower level. Great way to get to know your insurance agent, that's for sure!
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Old 02-27-2020, 03:33 PM   #17
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To be 100% sure, do what we did, and call your well technician for advice. (If you don't know your tech, you should!)
We had our well installed 13 years ago, and haven't spoken to anyone about it since. I don't even know which company it was. IMO, it's just one of those things you deal with when something happens.
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:22 PM   #18
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Y ... Yes. There is a valve where the water line comes into the house from the well. I will shut that off too.
No need to touch the valve, just flip the switch. You never know of the valve is not going to like being moved, don't mess with it right before you leave!

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Well pump is shut off by turning off the breaker for the well in the breaker box.

Also turn off your hot water heater (breaker if an electric water heater), water softener/filter if you have one, and shut off the main water supply valve.

I also drain a little water from the lines also.
Yes, good points.

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Old 02-27-2020, 10:30 PM   #19
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I have a well and I shut off the water valve. But after seeing this maybe I should just shut the pump down by switching the breaker. I have a water tank/bladder that hold several gallons as well but I do not drain it. I also close the toilet lids and fill with water in case of evaporation if gone for more than 4 weeks. Put furnace in eco mode which is low of 60 degrees.
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Old 02-28-2020, 07:38 AM   #20
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Why does everyone want to flip the breaker instead of just unplugging the well pump? Their pumps are hardwired?
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