Shutting off outside water

When an agent in my office asked me to check on a vacant house in Arlington Virginia that she had on the market a few years ago, I opened the front door and knew something was incredibly wrong.

inside water supply ball valve

In this position the water is off

I heard water gushing downstairs.

There must have been six inches of water on the floor, and I could see water shooting out of a burst water pipe. Although it probably wasn’t the smartest decision (since there was a possibility of electrocution), I flipped on my flashlight and found the water shut-off valve.

As 2014 kicks off, a Polar Vortex or an Arctic blast with temperatures in the single digits is about to hit Northern Virginia. Al Roker calls this Polar Vortex an “Arctic Hurricane” because it is a low pressure system essentially pushing aside any normal jet stream air currents.

With that in mind, here is an important tip for the day…

Polar Vortex action-item for homeowners

What you need to do is make sure your outside house bibs are shut off from the inside of your home.

Winter Water Spigot side of house

An outside water spigot.

Your hose bibs are on the outside of your house often in the front and back. If you have a sink in your garage, outdoor shower or a pipe to your shed then those need to be winterized too.

The process is easy but needs to be done before the Polar Vortex hits.

  1. Locate the spigot’s supply valve inside your home.
  2. Turn that valve off.
  3. Turn open outside valve to drain water.
  4. Open pressure relief valve (see on top of this spigot) to fully drain all water.

If you can only do the first three items then you are in much better shape than you were 5-minutes ago!

I hope the best to all of you as this polar air moves in and chills D.C. with the coldest air in 20 years.