Among the many valves and switches in your home, is the main water shut off valve. This is the valve that is responsible for shutting off the water supply to the entire house. One good clockwise turn, and you won’t be able to access water from any appliance or faucet throughout the house. There aren’t many scenarios where all the water to the house must be shut off, but it is important to have an idea of when to do it and how to find the valve, because time is often a factor.
The primary reason that would cause you to shut off the main water valve to the house is in the case of a plumbing emergency. This may consist of a burst pipe, seriously backed up sewer drain, flooding from an intense storm or any other reason that might cause water to enter your living space. When you shut off the main supply of water to the house, then at the very least, you’ll stop the water flow and reduce the amount of water damage.
If you are having a major home renovation performed and pipes are being moved or replaced, then the main water shut off comes into play. If the work is being done on a small area or specific appliance, then the main valve won’t need to be closed, but if the work relates to a larger area, all the water may need to be shut off.
If you are leaving the house for a long vacation or some other reason, you might want to shut off the main valve to save water and prevent damage in the case of a water leak. Most of the time, this isn’t an issue, but if the house will be vacant anyway, why take the chance? You don’t want to come home to a giant mess and damaged house.
Finding the Valve
In the case of a plumbing emergency, finding the valve is often the most challenging task, if you don’t already know where it is. In colder climates like Canada, the valve will be inside the house where the cold water pipe comes in, or close to the water heater. Some main water shut off valves have a bright red handle, which makes them easy to identify. Just give it a strong clockwise turn and the water will be shut off.
Letting Everyone Know
It’s a good idea to train each family member just in case the water supply needs to be shut down and you aren’t home. Show them where the main water shut off is, how to shut it off and go over a few scenarios in which they may have to use it. It may seem a little over the top, but being prepared will pay off in the end.
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