Minor household plumbing leaks can usually be managed—and the damage kept to a minimum—by shutting off the water supply to individual plumbing fixtures (e.g., toilets, faucets).
But in the event of a major plumbing emergency, you’ll need to quickly shut off the water supply to your entire home. Therefore it’s critical that you know how to locate your home’s main water shut off valve.
How Do You Find the Main Water Shut Off? Most likely, your main shut off valve is located near the front foundation wall in your basement. If you don’t have a basement, you may find it in a crawlspace, utility room, near your water heater, or even under your kitchen sink. Tip: You can usually find it within a few feet of where the main water supply enters your home. It will either have a lever handle or a round wheel-shaped handle. Turn it all the way to the right to shut it off.
When Do You Need to Shut Off the Main Water Supply? If you ever notice pooling water, flooding, or a large leak from an unknown source, these are signs of a serious plumbing emergency. You’ll need to turn off your home’s main water supply right away. It’s also a good idea to shut off the main water when you’re on vacation. This will prevent plumbing leaks while you’re out of town. Tip: If you need someone to water your garden while you’re gone, you can shut off the main water valve coming into your house, while still making water available for outdoor hoses.
How to Locate Your Home’s Other Shut Off Valves
Closing the Toilet’s Shutoff Valve Locate the shutoff valve attached to the pipe behind your toilet. The shutoff valve is a football-shaped valve connected to a pipe or hose attached to the bottom of the tank behind your toilet. The other end of this pipe should go into the wall.
How do I turn the water off to my washing machine? To shut off the water supply to a washing machine, just turn off the valve behind the machine clockwise. Many washers are served by two valves that look like outdoor hose valves—one for hot and the other for cold.
Kitchen or Bathroom sink shut-offs? Trace the hot and cold water lines, one at a time, away from the sink to where they disappear into the wall or floor. Look for a rounded knob or lever attached to the pipe at some point along its course. When encountered, turn the control — which will be a shutoff valve — clockwise to cut off the flow of water to the sink. Repeat with the opposite shutoff valve to stop all water flow.