When plumbing emergencies strike, you want to act fast to prevent lasting damage to your property and possessions. Water can ruin wood floors or cabinetry, soak carpets or rugs leaving mold in its wake, and create a mess you will be cleaning up for weeks - or even months. A simple pipe break can leave a lingering trail of destruction, as well as frustration and avoidable stress.
One of the most powerful tools in your water damage prevention arsenal is the main valve that controls water flow to your entire home. Knowing where the main valve is, and ensuring you have fast access to it, can help you avert the worst damage in case of profound plumbing troubles. Here's how to locate it in your home:
The Purpose and Importance of the Main Valve
Much as the faucet turns the water in your sink on and off, the main water valve turns the water off for your entire home. When it is turned off, not a drop of water will reach any spigot for the house, inside or out. This makes it a vital resource if you discover a leak or a break in your plumbing.
The main valve isn't only useful in emergency situations, however. You'll want to know its location if you ever choose to remodel your bathroom or kitchen, so you can replace the fixtures without hassle. While many main points of plumbing within the house have cutoffs near them, such as toilets and sinks, you may find the main water cutoff is your best bet.
Finding the Main Valve
When searching for your main water valve, you should know where not to look. It is unlikely that the valve will be beneath a sink, or near where you have installed your washer and dryer. It is also unlikely to be near one of the toilets in the house. Though you will find valves in many of those places, those cut-offs are most often specific to those water fixtures.
Instead, search the perimeter of your home. The valve should be low to the ground, and will likely be on the side of the main street. If you are having trouble finding the proper valve, locate your water meter. Then imagine a straight line between that meter and your home. As water mains take the shortest route from the meter to the home, the main valve is probably where the imaginary line meets your home
The first area you should check is under the hose spigot on the same side of the house that the water meter is on. Sometimes they are below mulch and dirt buildup that has accumulated over the years, meaning you may have to dig a little to expose valve box that contains the valve, or the valve itself. You may also be able to discover its location on your property inspection report.
Once you have located the shut off valve, pick a time early in the day, preferably not on a weekend, to check the function of the valve. Valves with a round handle turn clockwise to shut off and counterclockwise to turn the water back on. Due to the valve not being used for long periods of time, it may not function properly. That’s why it’s better to try using the valve early in the day, so we have time to make repairs same-day if needed.
If the valve has a lever handle, it will turn 90 degrees. These valves generally last longer and seem to function better no matter how long they have been unused. If all else fails, you can always locate your water meter and use a meter key to turn the water on and off. In the event of an emergency, it is better to be able to use a valve closer to the house.
Turn Off the Water and Call Us
When you have a plumbing emergency, or a leak that won't stop, turning off the water can buy you the time you need to make quick repairs. Once you have turned the water off, contact a reliable, professional plumber you can trust to solve the problem the first time. Call Bill Fenwick Plumbing to provide a reliable solution and service with a smile!