Knowing where your main water shutoff is can save you quite a bit of stress if your home starts to leak or experiences a pipe burst. The flow of water can damage valuables and even lead to mold or other types of water damage. So, knowing where the different shutoffs can cut down on these repair costs by helping cut off the source of the water quickly. But, many people do not know where to start looking.
Most modern homes and amenities have individual water shutoffs for toilets, laundry equipment, water heaters, and sinks. These different valves let you work on one part of your home without shutting off the entire water supply. This advice mainly pertains to pieces with exposed plumbing, so if you can’t see the pipes, you may need the main shut off or to call a professional.
Look for a knob beneath the toilet the toilet or sink and turn it to the right to seal the gap in the pipe. It is similar to a washing machine: check behind it to find the valve. Finally, the water heater has its switch located above or below it, but make sure you understand the model your home uses and that you have the right valve. Most individual parts of your home that require water will have individual shutoffs.
Finding the main shutoff
Unfortunately, not every problem will be as simple as cutting the flow to one area. If a pipe bursts or your home has a large leak, then you will need to cut the water supply to the entire house. Start by checking the property inspection report to find where this valve is. If you cannot locate the document, then remember how your home was built.
For homes built on a basement, the shutoff will probably be down there and will be on the opposite side of the wall as your hose spigot. For a crawl space, it may be in the crawl space against the front wall of your home. If your home was built on a slab, meaning it has now crawl space and no basement, then it is probably near your water heater. This reason is why it is important to be careful when turning a valve near the water heater: make sure it is the correct one.
Another good rule of thumb is are that the main water shutoff is probably somewhere close to the home’s perimeter, so check along exterior walls often on the lowest story of the house. Finally, if all else fails, find the water meter. It is very likely that the path from the water meter to your home was designed to be as short as possible, so simply find the wall closest to the water meter.
In Case of Emergencies
If once you find the main shut off or any other valve, make sure you are prepared to access it. For example, if the area under a sink, or the basement, is especially dark then leave a flashlight close to it so that you can reach it as soon as possible. When water damage becomes a risk, every second counts.