How does one stop a house flood while on vacation?

The last thing a homeowner wants to receive while away from the house for any length of time is a phone call from their neighbor or friend telling them that their house is flooded. They are told that there is water coming out their front door, back door, garage door, and likely some other places.  The thoughts that go through one’s mind are: what broke, how long has it been running, how much water damage is there, will the insurance company cover it, can I still live in the house once I am back, is there mold damage now, did someone turn off the water to the house for me or is it still running, etc.

Here at STOP Restoration  (STOP), we have seen this disaster happen to those leaving for the weekend or to those starting their two week vacation overseas. It doesn’t matter if you live in Mesa, Gilbert, or any of the other Phoenix areas cities these disaster happen. So what should you have done before you left?

Yes, you are right…TURN THE WATER OFF TO THE HOUSE. We recommend that you turn off the water to the house if you are gone for only one night. Develop the habit of turning off the water when leaving overnight and turning it back on once you are back. It doesn’t take long to create a good size water damage restoration job.

Hopefully you know where your main shutoff water valve is to the house. We are not talking about the city shutoff water value which is generally in a box next to the street with a water meter in the box also. Most houses in the Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and surrounding cities have two shutoff valves. It is the one next to the house we are concerned with. Your main shutoff water valve is likely one of two designs (Gate valve or Ball valve).

Gate valves are dependable and can last for years, however they become difficult to turn after not being turned for years.  Turn it clockwise to turn off and counter-clockwise to turn on. Ball valves are housed with plastic or copper water pipes leading into the house may have a full-flow ball valve. This valve is open when the handle is aligned with the pipe. To close it, turn the handle clockwise ¼ turn (90 degrees) so that it’s at a right angle to the pipe.

The image shows both a gate valve and ball valve. This is the main water line coming from the street into the house. The gate valve is the main shutoff water valve and is above the ball valve water line. The lower water line is the water gateway to the landscaping. Notice that the ball valve pipe is below the main shutoff water valve so when the main shutoff valve is off the water to the landscaping is not stopped.


It is important to have a working shutoff valve.  Once you find the shutoff valve test it by turning the valve off which will cut off the water flow to the entire house.  If it shuts off then check a faucet on the far side of the house to verify that the water is completely turned off. If the water continues flows or if the main shutoff water valve cannot be turned off by hand then call a professional plumber to take care of the problem.

To summarizes, if you do not want to come back home to a major water restoration job and walk through your home and see how much water damage can happen, then develop the habit of turning the water off to the house by using the main shutoff water valve.

Safety information is important to STOP Restoration Mesa since we see results of such disasters. However should disaster strike your house or business remember to call STOP at 480-818-1440 and count on us to provide quality disaster cleaning and repairs, 27/7 emergency service for water, smoke, fire, wind, bio-hazard, vandalism, and other damage repair services. We service Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler (AZ) and other surrounding cities.