Knowing where to find and how to operate your home’s main water valve is one of the best ways of preparing for a plumbing emergency. It’s just as important as knowing how to find and operate your home’s electrical panel! Shutting your water off in the event of a plumbing emergency can save you money by drastically reducing the risk of water damage.
Your safety and satisfaction are our top priorities at Rick’s Plumbing, which is why our friendly, expert plumbers place such great emphasis on plumbing maintenance and education. Aside from routine inspections using the latest technology, we offer a variety of plumbing services such as water main shut off valve trouble shooting to help you feel confident in knowing how to address a plumbing emergency, such as frozen or burst piping.
Learn how to find and how to shut off your main water valve by following these steps.
Locate your main water valve
The location of your main water valve depends on what kind of climate you live in. In colder areas, it’s likely to be found inside your home in the basement, crawlspace, or utility room in order to reduce the chances of freezing. For warmer climates, it may be located on an outside wall. In either climate, it’s usually close to your water meter. Look for a brass valves with a round, wheel-like handle. This is known as a gate valve. A ball valve will have a flat handle shaped like a popsicle stick. Once you know where your main water valve is, share this information with your family so they too can be prepared in case of an emergency.
Turn the valve to the right
Remember to always turn clockwise in order to shut off your main water valve. This may require several rotations on a round gate valve, in which case you may need a crescent wrench if you’re unable to turn it by hand. Ball valves have a 90 degree range of motion, so be sure to turn it until it lies perpendicular to the pipe. Turning it to the right will shut off the flow of water into your home and all appliances that use water will be inoperable until you turn the water back on.
Turn your faucets on
Although your water is now shut off, you’ll still have to drain any existing water from your plumbing. You can do this simply by turning your faucets on and allowing the water to empty. Unscrew your faucets aerators, the small screen found on the end of the faucet, prior to turning the water back on. This will help to keep small pieces of scale or debris that came loose from the inside of your pipe from clogging up the small holes in the screen.
Remember that shutting off your water supply from your home is not the same as shutting if off from the street water meter. Typically, there are only three instances in which you’d have to do this: the main water shut off in or outside you home fails, the line between your home’s shut off valve and the street’s is leaking, or your home’s main water valve is being repaired. The majority of water companies allow access the street shut off valve, but always contact your water company before shutting it off just to be on the safe side.
Street shut off valves and meters are typically found in boxes with access covers and can be operated in the same way that your home’s main water valve is. It may require the use of a wrench to access and operate the valve, especially if it hasn’t been used for some time. Remember to always turn to clockwise to turn it off!
If at any time you’re unsure of where to find or how to properly operate your home’s main water valve, give us a call right way! It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to plumbing, and our friendly plumbers are happy to help you prepare for any plumbing emergency that comes your way!