In the previous blog, we shared advice to save time for the Summer season with 6 plumbing tips for homeowners. This time, we’d like to tell you some tips to find your main water shut-off valve.
Knowing how (and where) to turn off your main water supply comes in handy when a plumbing emergency happens. Water that spills uncontrollably from a ruptured line or burst water pipes can quickly cause significant water damage to your property’s interior, with costly plumbing repairs on top of that.
Having it in mind can help you save costs and prevent a plumbing nightmare.
Tips for locating the water shut off valve within the house.
Your main water shut-off valve could be located in a variety of different areas.
A big clue that may help to make the search easier: your home’s foundation.
- Look on the inside perimeter. Usually, the main water shut-off valve can be found along the perimeter of the house, on the side facing the street.
- Basements. If your home has a basement, that’s probably where you’ll find the shut-off valve. It can be mounted on a wall near the front of your house. The main water can pass through the concrete floor or walls. The valve is usually found within three to five feet of where the main water enters.
- Crawl space. If your home has a crawl space, the main water shut-off valve could be located under it. You may find it along the front wall of the house.
- Slab-on-grade construction. If your house is on a slab, the main water shut-off valve may be found near your water heater tank, either under it or at the top.
How to turn off the shut-off valve.
Once the valve is located, it’s really easy to turn it off.
A word of warning beforehand: old water valves may be damaged and/or corroded. Only use your hand to turn them on or off. If it’s not possible to do it by hand, better call a professional plumber for assistance.
- Ball Valve. A ball valve uses a ball with a hole in it to pivot into the right position. To turn a ball valve off, turn the lever so that it is perpendicular to the pipe.
- Gate Valve. A gate valve is a circular handle. It closes off the water supply by lowering a brass gate into a slot. This round handle has to be turned several times clockwise, like a screw, in order to shut off the water.
After you turn the water off, it’s worth remembering to release pressure from your pipes. Turn on the hot and cold faucets in your home to do it.
Check the Streetside Utility Box.
If you aren’t able to find the shut-off valve inside your home, it’s possible to stop the water at its source on the street. The shut-off valve on the street can be found at your property boundary at the beginning of the water main.
There should be a utility box located at ground level. Lift the lid and set the lid aside. If there’s sand or dirt inside, don’t discard it, as it’ll prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting if you live in a climate that freezes during winter.
You may find two valves within.
- Streetside Valve. Located on the street side of the water meter. This turn-off is designed in such a way that only the water company can turn it off. Don’t try to turn it off, as even if you manage to do it, there may be legal consequences.
- House Side Valve. This one you can handle. It’ll be on the house side of the water meter. It’ll have either a knob or a nut.
Alternatives to shut off water in your home.
If your toilet, washing machine, sink, or tub (with exposed pipes) is leaking, the quickest way to deal with it is to turn off the water near the source.That’s what the globe valves are for, and they’re easier to find.
They should be close to the pipe, you just have to turn clockwise until the handle stops. That’ll stop the water from flowing, saving you from the hassle of going to the main water shut-off valve.
Knowing how to stop the water flowing into your home can help to prevent important water damage in case of a serious leak. If you have a plumbing emergency and need a reliable team of plumbers that can do the job quickly and efficiently, look no further.
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