Protect Your Pipes to Avoid Water Damage by Turning Off Your Water Supply
If a pipe bursts or leaks while you are away, it could cause significant damage. Consider completely turning off the water supply if you will be away for an extended period of time. If your home is heated by an older steam heating system, consult with your heating professional to determine if it is safe to turn off the water supply for your particular heating system. Also, if your home is protected by a fire sprinkler system, make sure that you do not turn off the water to this system.
If you have turned off the water supply, drain your pipes of all water by opening the faucets, and flush your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl. Consider pouring antifreeze in toilet tanks and bowls to prevent any remaining water from freezing.* Always use non-toxic antifreeze rated for plumbing systems.
You may wish to hire a licensed plumber to complete these steps. The plumber can also confirm that the pipes have been fully drained by blowing compressed air through the pipes.
Keep Your Home and Plumbing Warm if Your Water Supply Stays On
If you decide against draining your water pipes, keep the furnace running to help ensure the home stays warm and the pipes do not freeze.
Set the temperature at 55°F or higher to help keep the interior of the floor and wall cavities, where the water piping is likely located above freezing temperatures.
Keeping room and cabinet doors open can also help heat to circulate and warm the areas where pipes are located.
Shut off the water to washing machines and dishwashers where possible, to avoid any leaks or broken hoses while you are away.
Turn off the heat source and water supply to hot water heaters (if separate from your boiler).
Consider shutting off and draining outdoor faucets to prevent water damage due to freezing.
Have a water flow sensor and low temperature sensor installed on your main water supply pipe and hooked into a constantly monitored alarm system or your smart phone.