Going on vacation this summer? There are a few steps that you should take to protect your home while you’re gone and to make sure you have the freshest tap water when you return.
If you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time you may want to turn off your water supply. Turning your water off at the main valve will minimize the threat of water damage while you’re away.
Learn where to find and how to operate your water shut off valve in the video below.
It’s also a good idea to flush your plumbing when you return. This just means turning on the cold water faucet and letting the water run for a few minutes until the water coming out of your faucet feels colder. The change in temperature means the water from the main in the street has made it through the plumbing into your house.
Why do this? When you’re not home to use your water, it sits stagnant in your pipes. If water has been sitting for an extended period of time, such as when you are on vacation, a few things can happen.
At the end of our treatment process, we add chlorine which kills germs, protects from pathogens, and makes the tap water clean and safe to drink. We are required to ensure that very low levels of chlorine, called residuals, remain in the water to keep it safe as it travels through miles of water mains to your house.
If water is left sitting for long periods of time, the chlorine residuals can dissipate. During the summer, chlorine dissipates from water more quickly due to the warmer water temperatures. And when there is no chlorine in the water, bacteria have an opportunity to grow.
In addition, stagnant water can result in corroded material from plumbing dissolving into the water sitting in your home’s pipes, resulting in discolored water when you return from vacation. It can especially be an issue for homes that have lead service lines, lead plumbing, or copper plumbing joined by lead solder. While tests repeatedly show our treatment techniques of controlling water’s pH and adding orthophosphate reduce lead levels in water, flushing will reduce any potential risk even further.
Water in our distribution system is constantly moving so it maintains steady chlorine levels and avoids issues caused by stagnation. By flushing the water in your home plumbing you bring in new, fresh water from our water mains, ensuring that the water coming from your faucet is the highest quality.