How To Find The Main Water Shutoff Valve: A Guide For Beginners
One of the first things we as homeowners and even renters need to know is to where and how to shut off the water to our house. It’s critically important to take the time today to find out where the main water shutoff valve location is to your house.
First Thing To Do With A New House Is Locate The Main Water Shutoff Valve
One of the first things I do when moving into a new home is look for the main water shut off valve. The first house I lived in, it was easy. It was located in the garage next to where I parked, so i saw it every day. My current home was a different story.
Prevent Emergencies And Costly Repairs
I was in the middle of remodeling our current home, working on it in the evenings and weekends. One evening I walked through the front door and found myself stepping into a puddle of water. At the time I had no idea where it had come from or if it was still running. Fortunately, I located the problem and corrected it. The water had come from a line from the water softener that I failed to connect after disconnecting it the day before. Double fortunate…I had just removed the old flooring and had not put in the new flooring yet. I barely escaped disaster.
This experience got me to think though…Did I know how to turn off the main water supply to my house? Did I know exactly where the main shutoff valve was located. The answer was no. Did I quickly figure it out? Yes.
Why It’s Important To Know
There are some really good reasons for knowing how to shut off the water supply to your house.
- A Broken water line: This can happen many different ways and can be very detrimental and costly. I’ve even seen where someone screwed into the wall and hit a water line. Water spraying all over the place. Fortunately for them they knew where the shutoff valve was.
2. Repairs/Renovations: You will need to be able to turn the water off if you want to make any repairs to your sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc.
How To Find The Main Water Shutoff Valve
Many times the main shutoff valve is located in places we don’t really want to go. They are frequently found in dark, dirty places where bugs, mice and other creepy crawlies prefer to reside. Where it’s located really depends on things like where your house is regionally (cold or warm region), are you on city water or a well or how old your house is.
Typically, you’ll want to look in the basement or on an outside wall of the garage or utility room, keeping in mind you are looking for where the main water line is coming into the house from outside. Both houses I’ve lived in, the shutoff valve has been located near an outside faucet. This might be a coincidence, but it also makes sense.
If you are on city water, you should be able to locate a valve out near the street on the house side of the water meter.
If you have a well, look near the holding tank in your house. You should see a line coming in from the well to the tank, and another from the tank to the house. There should be a shutoff valve between the tank and the house.
What To Look For and How to Turn the Water Off
Your main shutoff valve will most likely either be a ball valve or a gate valve. Whichever kind of valve it is, you’ll turn it clockwise to shut the water off. The ball valve only requires ¼ turn. The gate valve will require multiple clockwise turns to completely turn the water off.
Ball Valve: Typically found in newer homes, or older homes with updated plumbing. Has a lever for a handle. Only requires ¼ turn clockwise to turn off.
Gate Valve: Typically in older homes. Has the typical “round” valve handle appearance. Requires multiple clockwise turns to completely shut water off.
You may notice a small leak from around the stem of the valve after turning it off and back on again. To stop the leak, simply tighten the nut at the base of the valve just enough to stop the leak. Over tightening can make it so you won’t be able to turn the valve off again.
If while you’re back in the dark spaces of your home searching for your water shutoff valve, you might find evidence of rodents. For some reason they love that part of my house. If so, take a look at my article, DIY Rat Repellent: Easy Tips For The Clever Homeowner.
I would love to hear your water shutoff valve location hunting stories. Please share them and any other comments below.
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