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How to Prevent Water Damage When You’re Out of Town for the Holidays

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

When pipes freeze, hoses burst and water lines leak, the resulting damage can be devastating – and expensive. Whether you’re traveling this winter or staying home for the holidays, it’s important to take action to prevent water damage. We have a few tips, courtesy of Family Handyman.



Shut Off the Main Water Valve

The best way to prevent water damage while you’re away from home is to shut off the main water valve. There are usually two water meter valves, one on the house side of the meter, and one on the street side. In warmer climates, the main shutoff valve is outside of the home, attached to an exterior wall or in an underground box with a removable lid. In colder areas, the main shutoff is usually in the basement, near the front of the home.


Depending on the age of your house, the shutoff valve will either be a ball valve or a gate valve. Ball valves are generally found in newer homes, and have a lever handle that must be turned 90 degrees to shut the water off. In the open position, the lever is parallel to pipes, and when it’s closed, the lever is perpendicular. Gate valves are more common in older houses. They feature a round handle that is turned several times to close (or reopen) the valve.


To make sure the water valve is completely shut off, turn on a faucet in the house, and check to make sure no water is running. If the valve leaks or if you can’t get it off or back on, call a Virginia Beach plumbing technician for help.


After shutting off the valve, open the outside faucets to drain any remaining water out of the pipes. This will prevent the outdoor faucets from freezing and bursting.


Check Water Supply Lines

The plastic or rubber supply lines that connect appliances, toilets and faucets to shutoff valves often leak or break after time. When you shut off the main water valve, check the supply lines for any signs of deterioration and decay.


Test the Sump Pump

Before leaving home for an extended period, or if heavy rain is in the forecast, test your sump pump by filling the sump pit with water and watch to see that it pumps. Make sure it is plugged in, and that the outlet pipe isn’t clogged.


If you have any questions or spot issues with your shutoff valves, water supply lines, or any other part of your home plumbing, contact Awesome Drain Cleaning and Waterline Repair for fast and affordable plumbing service.


For 20 years, Awesome Drain Cleaning and Waterline Repair has been helping homeowners and businesses in Virginia Beach with water fixture installation and repair. We serve communities throughout Virginia, including Newport News, Yorktown, Suffolk, Portsmith, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton, and more.

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