Myth or Reality: Is it a Good Idea to Leave your Faucet Running When You’re Away for a While?

January 27th, 2022

The cold weather is here and winter is knocking at our door. With the holiday season upon us, some people will be moving to see their families, within sanitary norms of course. When one leaves the house for an extended period of time, it is legitimate to wonder what actions should be taken to avoid damage, especially in terms of plumbing. We sometimes hear that it is a good idea to leave the faucet running to avoid freezing, but is this a myth or a reality? The following blog post will try to demystify the issue for you.

How to Avoid Unpleasant Surprises?

In order to avoid the inconvenience of a bad surprise when you return from a long period of absence, a few preventive interventions on your plumbing system and your water heater are required. In fact, when we leave our home for an extended period of time, it is prudent to close the main water supply valve. This way, in the event of a breakage, water damage will be limited. Now, if we close the water inlet, it is also preferable to cut off the electrical power to the water heater. If the thermostats or electrical components fail, the temperature of the water inside the tank can rise without any real limit. This would cause the water heater to over pressurize and the safety valve would release water to relieve the pressure. These small spills would not be a tragedy over 2 or 3 days, but can cause significant damage if you are away for several weeks or months. If you leave your home for long months in the winter, it is also possible to bleed the water pipes to protect them from freezing in the event of an extended power outage. This should be done by a plumber to ensure that it is done properly. You should not flush your pipes too often because this can shorten the life of your appliances.

Is Leaving the Water Running a Good Idea or Not?

Leaving the water running should only be considered in the event of a prolonged heating failure. In fact, in this type of situation, leave a very thin stream of water running from your taps so that the water is in constant circulation and does not stagnate and starts to freeze. Also, if you turn off the water supply, let all the water run out of the faucets to prevent water from stagnating in the pipes.

If you are planning to leave your home for a few days or even longer, it is highly recommended that you talk to an expert. A good plumber will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation and can even walk through your home with you so that you can implement the best practices and leave with complete peace of mind.

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