How To Locate Your Home’s Water Main Shutoff Valve
Imagine walking into a room and finding an inch of water pooling on the ground. The plumbing moved beyond a tiny crack to a full-blown leak. Water is freely flowing everywhere.
What would you do?
Water is one of the most damaging forces in your home. The quicker you take action, the quicker you can stop the water supply, the better chance you have of making a full recovery.
Do you know where your home’s water main shutoff valve is?
Every home is required to have a main water shutoff valve installed inside the home. So for most emergencies or repairs that involve working with your plumbing, shutting off the proper inside valve is mandatory.
The first step is to find the water main shutoff valve on your property. Some homes have the water meter located inside, while others have it located outside. It may be underground within a pit, or at or near the property line. Inside, it may be located in a basement, crawl space, or near the foundation. Water shutoff valves may have a round wheel handle or levers.
In a basement, the shutoff valve is typically located near the front foundation wall. The water main may have come through the concrete floor or through the wall. The valve is typically located within 3 to 5 feet of where the water main enters the home. If you don’t find it on the front wall, check for a mechanical room, or near the water heater or furnace.
In a crawl space or with slab construction, the shutoff valve may be right inside the crawl space. If it’s difficult to get to, you may wish to have a secondary valve located more convenient. In some cases, you’ll find it near the water heater or under the kitchen sink.
If your home has a fire sprinkler system, care is needed when turning off a shutoff valve. Unless it’s the sprinkler pipe you’re working on, you should only turn off the home’s plumbing supply and leave the sprinkler pipe live.
To turn off the main valve, turn the round wheel handle valve off by turning it right (clockwise) two or more full revolutions. For lever handle valves, turn until not parallel with the pipe. It should stop about a quarter turn. Open a tub or sink faucet (both hot and cold) on the highest pressure to ensure the water is fully shut down. Then continue to open faucets throughout your home to ensure the plumbing is fully drained, as needed.
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