The Importance of Main House Water Shut Off Valves
As a homeowner, it's essential to know where the main water shut off valve is located. Water leaks from running toilets, burst pipes, broken water heaters, and even leaky sinks can cause significant damage in a short amount of time. In order to prevent costly damage, turn off the water supply as soon as a leak, flood, or spill occurs.
Find out how to maintain all your valves throughout the year, including the ones connected to your sinks and toilets, plus tips on when it's best to completely shut off your main water line from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.
When Do I Need to Shut Off My Main Water Line?
Typically, you won't have to go directly to the main water line to fix a leak. Instead, your first attempt at stopping your water supply should be straight at the source. Most local supply lines have valves located directly behind or above the fixture and can be turned clockwise to shut off the water supply.
To locate water valves next to specific fixtures in your home, use these tips:
- For sinks, look under the cabinet on the supply lines leading to the faucet. There will likely be two shut-off valves to control both cold and hot water.
- For toilets, look close to the ground behind or beside the toilet, along the flexible metal tubing leading to the tank.
- For washing machines, look either directly above the washer or pull the machine away from the wall and check behind it.
- For water heaters, the water valve should be located just above the heater itself.
Operating these valves can vary depending on their design. There may be a round or oval-shaped valve handle that you turn clockwise to close, and counterclockwise to reopen. Some modern plumbing shutoff valves may feature a flat knob that you pull out in order to close. Others may look like flat levers, which you can turn perpendicular to the supply line to reach the closed position. In many cases, operating instructions may be indicated directly on the valve.
If the leaky fixture's valves aren't working or break off, turn off your main water line right away. Acting fast could save you plenty in damages and repair costs.
How Do I Find My Main House Water Shut Off Valve?
The main water line valve to a house is usually located in the basement or in the crawlspace and enclosed behind an access panel. However, there isn't a standard location specified in any home.
If you don't know where to look for your water shut off valve, use these tips:
- The valve will often be located on-grade, so you'll likely find it at eye-level in the basement or near the ground on the first floor.
- The valve may also be attached to the water meter outside your home. Water meters are generally located close to the street in an underground box or near your driveway, yard or sidewalk.
- Take a look at the property inspection report provided when you purchased your home. This report should note the location of the valve.
Maintaining Your Water Valves
At ServiceMaster Restore, we know how terrifying it can be to try shutting off your supply lines just to see the valves stick in place – or worse, snap off in your hands. That's why we recommend periodically checking your shut off valves to ensure they're in good working condition.
At least twice a year, test all the valves in your home. Simply turn them completely off and on again to ensure they aren't stuck in place or include faulty parts. That way, if an emergency ever does occur, you can have peace of mind that you'll be able to fix the problem quickly and efficiently.
Make sure every family member knows where these shutoff valves are located so that a minor water incident doesn’t result in major damage. Consider writing out instructions so everyone in the household knows how to act if they spot a leak. When you’re heading out of town, use these valves to shut off water flow so that you don’t come home to water damage or a flood.
If the unexpected happens are you aren’t able to shut off your water valves in time, call on the experts at ServiceMaster Restore. Our water damage restoration services can help you get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. With the proper tools and knowledge, we'll work fast and efficiently to prevent additional water damage, cleanup costs, and overall stress.