Straight from the Tap

Going on Vacation? How to Keep Your Home Safe and Water Fresh While Away

07/16/2019

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.

Worry about one less thing with a MyClevelandWater account.

Don't let worrying about making bill payments on time interfere with your vacation plans. With the MyClevelandWater web portal, you can set up recurring payments so your bill is automatically paid every month. You can also sign up to receive email or text alerts when your bill is due.

The portal also enables you to detect an issue before it becomes a major problem by displaying your water usage down to the hour. For example, if you see an unusual spike in your water usage, or if water usage is showing at times when you aren't using water, it could be the sign of a leak. Learn more here.

Get familiar with your water valve.

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 this video.

Flush your plumbing.

When you return from a trip, it's a good idea to flush your plumbing. This just means turning on the cold water faucet and letting the water run for a few minutes.

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. 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 best quality.