Your Main Water Valve: How to Turn It Off

Water valve

Even if you're not a do-it-yourselfer, it's important to know how to shut off the main water valve in your house. In fact, make sure everyone living in your home knows where the water shut off valve is located so you can react fast if and when disaster strikes.

Why would you need to turn off the water? Most of the time, you want water to flow undisturbed throughout your home. After all, indoor plumbing is the key to washing dishes, cleaning clothes, bathing, showering, brushing your teeth and going to the bathroom. Why would you need to turn off the water?

In reaction to a disaster: A burst or leaking pipe doesn't give you much time to act. If you can quickly shut off the water, you stem the tide and could potentially prevent thousands of dollars in structural damage.
As a preventive measure: If you're going out of town for a few days or more, it's wise to shut off the water before you depart. After all, if you're not home to react quickly to a ruptured washer hose, dripping water heater or leaking valve line, you could return to a homeowner's worst nightmare. Put your mind at ease and shut off the main water valve before you leave town.

Where to Find the Water Shut off Valve

The entry point of the water line into your home could be located in a few different places:

  • If your home has a basement or crawlspace, the valve is probably on a subterranean wall near the front of the house.
  • If your home is built on a slab, the valve is most likely located near the water heater or in the garage.
  • If you can't locate the water shut off valve on the interior of your home, it's time to take a gander outside. Look near the street and see if you can find a covered box buried in the ground, called the water meter box. This box houses your home's water shut off valve.

If you still can't find it, call your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing for help. 

Different types of valves have different tool requirements:

  • Valves located inside the home can usually be turned off by hand. Simply turn it clockwise to stop the water flow.
  • Valves located in a water meter box outside the home often require a meter key. You can purchase this at your local hardware or home improvement store. If you don't want to make the trip, you can substitute a meter key for a crescent wrench and screwdriver. Remember, the valve closest to your house is the residential water valve for your home. That's the valve you need to turn in a clockwise direction to shut off the water flow.

Recommended Precautions

Hold on, you're not finished just yet! Once you turn off the main water valve, you should take the precaution of releasing pressure in the pipes. Do this by turning on both the hot and cold water from a faucet in your home until the water no longer runs. This simple knowledge can save you time, money, stress and heartache down the road. For more useful plumbing tips and tricks, please contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing today.