Winter can be unpredictable with the weather, bringing extreme temperatures, which can lead to pipes bursting. The service calls we received during a recent freeze could be divided into two groups: those that knew where their water shut-off valve was located and those that didn't. Regardless both were without water and needed help as quickly as possible, but the people that knew where their shut-off was located were in a much better situation than those that didn't. This can be the difference between minor and major damage, which is avoided by simply knowing where your water shut-off valve is.
Once you find your water shut-off valve, notice if it has a handle or if you need a water shut-off key. If it is a handle, you simply turn the handle one-quarter turn. The handle will only move in the direction required to open it and won't move any farther than needed. Turn it in a clockwise direction to shut off the water. You'll turn it counterclockwise to turn the water back on. If you have a water shut-off key, you'll need to find and insert it to turn it off. This should have come with your home. Older homes may have shut-off with a round handle that must be turned clockwise until it is closed.
If you turn your water off when you are away, we also recommend turning your water heater to a vacation setting while away. Additionally, if you have a hot water recirculation pump, you will need to turn that off as well. Just remember to turn everything back on when you return. Otherwise, you might have a cold awakening if you take a shower or wash your hands.
Upon returning from vacation, don't forget to turn your water shut-off valve back on and run water from the sinks for about 30 minutes. You might feel like you're wasting water, but you're removing the stagnant water that's been sitting for several days while you've been away. It also helps to flush the toilets before you use them to get that water back into your home's pipe system.
As with any emergency, knowing what to do is the key to dealing with a frozen pipe that has burst. For prompt service, call your friends at Lorenz at 417-863-1122. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays!