We’ve run across a couple of stories lately about people who have gone on vacation, only to find their home flooded when they returned. Needless to say, the damage was horrendous.

In one of these instances the family didn’t have home insurance, so it’s on the hook for the clean up and repairs. In the other, the couple is now fighting with the insurance company, which refuses to pay full value for the high-end furniture and electronics that were ruined.

In both instances, the grief these people have gone through is compounded by the knowledge that had they shut off the water to their house before leaving for their vacation, they wouldn’t have faced anywhere near the same damage.

Naturally, we’re mentioning this because we want you to do yourself the favour of shutting off the water to your home any time you’re planning to be away from the premises for more than 24 hours.

It’s pretty simple, really. Just find the main water shut off to your home and close it. Now, if something bursts, only the water in the lines will be able to run out, which is much better than a continuous flow all the while you’re gone.

Ideally, you’d turn off the water every time you left the house, but that’s not really practical. However, if you’re going away for any length of time (more than a day), closing off the main water supply is a great way to avoid serious water damage in the event of a plumbing failure.

Keep in mind, as well, that some insurance policies are voided if you don’t take the precaution of shutting off your water supply when you’re gone for more than a specified amount of time.

Most residential insurance policies operate under the premise that the home is being tended to daily, so if there’s nobody there to watch over the building, then the policy might be voided. Check your policy’s fine print to find out what happens in such situations and act accordingly.

It’s a good idea to find a friend or family member who can come in every couple of days to check on things. This has the added advantage of making the house look like people are there, which helps to discourage burglars.

So if you’re going away, even if it’s just overnight, we strongly recommend you shut off the main water supply to your home. It just might save you a lot of grief.