Can you answer this question, “Where is the main water shut off in my house?” If not, you need to learn how to find it in case of a water leak. We put together a few helpful tips to make it easier to locate your main water shut off in your home.
Your professional Bethany, OK plumbers, Champion Plumbing, is ready to help you with any plumbing problems you are facing. We are available 24/7 and offer emergency plumbing services to Oklahoma City Metro area residents.
Types of Valves and How to Use Them
Before we delve into where you’ll find various water valves, you’ll need to get an idea of what these valves can look like and how to use them. Most water lines that homeowners can access will use two types of valves to open and close the line for use or maintenance, and we cover them both below.
The ball valve is more common at the major points of the water line. Ball valves, despite their name, look like a straight, flat handle. The handle will be parallel with the line in the “on” position and perpendicular in the “off” position.
You can often find these valves at the main water supply shut off and at the water heater shut off. You may find smaller, plastic, or PVC versions at the shut-offs for your sink, shower, and other shut off points. Simply turn the lever to the “off” position.
You will typically find gate valves at the outdoor water spigot and in a few other areas of the home. To turn the water off at a gate valve, turn the handle clockwise until the valve seals off the water flow.
How to Locate the Main Water Shut Off
Turning off the water in your home is easier than you might expect. Depending on where your water comes from (municipal or well), you may need to search your home thoroughly.
Well water lines can come into your home from any direction. Check basements and crawlspaces for water lines with shut off valves. We’ll discuss the most common types of valves and how to use them in a bit.
Municipal water lines are somewhat easier to find and tend to run from the street area directly into your home. In many cases, you can call your water company to come and shut the water off at the street valve.
If your water company gives you permission to shut the water off on your own, you have a few options available that include:
Opening the Street Side Utility Box and Shutting Off the House Side Valve
If you can locate the street or curb utility box and open it, you will see two valves. One is the street-side valve that requires a water company tool to open and close the valve. The other valve, typically closer to your home, is the house side valve.
The house side valve may look like a standard valve or knob, or it may only be a nut that turns. You will need to find an appropriate tool that fits the nut tightly to turn it without damaging it. Turn the water off here if possible to reduce water damage within your home.
Locating the Home’s Main Water Valve
If you locate the street valve but aren’t comfortable with touching it, you can use the location of the street main to help you guesstimate where the line leads. The shut-off is typically close to the outer perimeter of your home and will be closer to the street side than the rear (alley side) of the house.
Some main water shut-off valves are hidden indoors behind an access panel that appears similar to the panel for your electrical breakers. These access panels will likely be at ground level or as close as possible to ground level. Some newer homes may use a plumbing manifold that will also act as a primary shut-off.
Some older homes that lack basements may feature shut off valves in the crawlspace under the home. If you have a basement, look around at eye-level and above (between floor supports) for possible shut-off locations. Mobile homes will also use the space underneath the home to house the main shut-off behind the skirting.
Finally, you can check the paperwork from the property inspection. If you kept these papers, you should find a plumbing section that details the location of the home’s main water line shut off. If you didn’t keep these papers, check out the alternative shut-off locations section below for a few more useful ideas.
Alternative Shut Off Locations
In some cases, you may have more luck shutting the water off closer to the source of a leak. Most, if not all, of your water appliances will have individual valves for safety purposes.
You can easily shut off the water in the following plumbing dependent appliances and stop them from leaking with these helpful hints:
- Beside the toilet, you will find a small, flexible tube and valve that supplies the tank. Turn the valve to the off position if your toilet is leaking or constantly trying to fill the tank.
- Open the cabinetry below the sink and look for two lines with valves attached. Some dishwashers may use one of the lines under the sink and will also have a valve to shut off the water. Turn the valves to the off position if your sink is leaking.
- Some bathtubs and showers have exposed plumbing. Other shower and tub valves may hide from sight behind access panels in adjoining rooms. If the leak is coming from your shower or tub, try to locate these lines and turn them off to prevent unwanted water damage.
- Washing Machine
- Most washing machines have two lines (hot and cold) that hide behind the machine and mount to the wall. You may need to pull the washing machine forward just a little to expose the valve handles and shut off the leaking water.
- Water Heater
- Water heaters typically have a shut-off valve in their immediate vicinity to minimize water leaks. The valve will likely be the ball valve type we talk about above. Turn the lever all the way perpendicular to stop a water heater leak.
Every home is different, so you may need to do a little more searching and peeking behind unfamiliar panels to find the water valves you need to access. If you still have no luck in finding the shut-off valves, you’ll need to call your local plumbing professionals to get the situation under control.
While you might not want to perform repair work, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these areas you might otherwise ignore. You never know when you’ll need to take action in a home emergency.
At Champion Plumbing, we understand that homeowners might not always know where their water lines are. That’s why we commit ourselves to providing high-quality professional services, even in the case of a water leak emergency. Our team is ready to offer affordable assistance in your time of need.
If you still don’t know the answer to “Where is the main water shut off in my house,” call for emergency plumbing services by Champion Plumbing at 405-889-1318. We’ll find the valve for you and fix the troublesome leak as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimize water damage.