Summer-VacationIf you are going to leave your home vacant for a period of time during the summer, so that you miss the Tucson summer heat, it is a good idea to close down your home plumbing system, to prevent damage during your absence.

You have probably heard of winterizing a home when it is left vacant during the winter.  Summer shut downs are very similar, except that you definitely do not have to worry about anything freezing.

Leaving some plumbing fixtures full of water for an extended period during hot weather can lead to water turning stagnant and developing contamination, while others should not be left completely dry.


Summer shut downs for a house should include:

  • Shutting off the main water supply to the house
  • Turning off the electricity or gas to the water heater, and flush and draining the water heater(s)
  • Draining the home water supply system
  • Turning all faucets, tub valves and shower valves to the “on” position, and using compressed  air to remove as much water residue as possible from the water supply system
  • Draining toilets
  • Adding nontoxic propylene glycol antifreeze to all sink p-traps and toilets traps to prevent them from totally drying out due to evaporation
  • If you have a water softener, do a back wash, then drain the system and remove the salt or potassium from the brine tank
  • If you have a reverse osmosis system, drain the storage tank
  • Hot water recirculation pumps on water heaters should be unplugged and water blown out of the system
  • Draining water from evaporative coolers
  • Make sure irrigation and pool fill is still functional; this may require some water re-piping to make this work
  • Other water using devices such as humidifiers, steam generators, misting systems and filter systems may also need to be considered during summer shut downs as well

When you return home after the summer, you will need to:

  • Woods PlumbingTurn all faucets, tub valves and shower valves off, because they were left open during the shutdown this will drain the air out of the water lines
  • Turn on the main water supply to the house
  • If you have a water softener, fill the brine tank with salt or potassium as it was removed during the shutdown and turn the water on to fill the system
  • Fill the water heater(s)


  • Be sure the water heater is full of water before turning on its electricity; it takes only a second to burn out the heating elements in an electric water heater if there is not water in the water heater.
  • Turn on the electricity or gas supply to the water heater(s)
  • If you have hot water recirculation pumps on water heaters, fill the system with water, then plug the pump in to the electrical supply and bleed air from the pump
  • If you have a reverse osmosis system, flush and sanitize the tank, and replace the filters

If you do not feel comfortable either shutting the house down before you leave or opening the house back up after you return, call us and we will do either or both processes for you.

Note: This may be a very good time to request a complete whole house plumbing inspection for future planning.