Why You Should Always Know Where Your Shutoff Valves Are!
While the team here at Aqua Wolf Plumbing typically advises our readers to leave household plumbing projects to a qualified expert, there are several aspects of your property’s plumbing system that we believe every homeowner should be intimately familiar with. Some of the most important components of your plumbing infrastructure are the shutoff valves in your home. Your plumbing system likely has one main shutoff valve, with other secondary valves for key appliances around the home, and an outdoor valve controlled by the water department. Today, we want to help you locate the shutoff valves in your property. If there is ever an emergency such as a burst sewer line in your neighborhood, or frozen and burst pipes inside your home, you’ll definitely want to know exactly where the shutoff valve is for your internal plumbing. Knowing the location of shutoff valves can mean the difference between a quick action that saves you thousands of dollars in repairs and cleanup, or a costly, messy disaster that damages your property and puts your health at risk.
Finding your main water shutoff valve shouldn’t be too difficult, but if you’ve never seen it before you might need to do a little hunting to locate it. Your main shutoff valve should be around the perimeter of the home, either in the basement or on the first floor somewhere. These valves are typically quite close to your property’s water main, so take a stroll around your property and find the water main. It may be in a utility area against an exterior wall, close to appliances such as your hot water heater. Different homes may have different styles of shutoff valve: some are ball valves, while others are gate valves. Regardless of what style valve your home has, they operate the same: you turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water flow! Once you locate your water main and shutoff valve, get acquainted with it. If you’ve never touched it before, it may be prudent to practice shutting it off and then back on, so you’re sure it will be easy to turn in case of an emergency. Sometimes, if they’re left untouched for long periods of time, these valves can get a little sticky, so it’s a great idea to ensure you can easily shut it off and back on when you’re not in the middle of a plumbing emergency. The last thing you want to do is be scrambling for a wrench or screwdriver to help you loosen up a valve when your house is flooding!
Once you’ve found your property’s main water shutoff valve, half the battle is over, but it’s also a great idea to locate and familiarize yourself with the other secondary shutoff valves around your house. Some other important shutoff valves in your home include the valve behind your toilets, sinks, and washing machine. You can easily locate your toilet’s shutoff valve behind the bowl - it can be handy to turn this off if you’re ever dealing with your toilet running improperly. You can find the shutoff valves for most of the sinks in your home in the cabinet under the basin, and easily reach them to shut off if you’re dealing with a clogged or overflowing sink. There are typically two shutoff valves behind or above your washing machine, and both of those will need to be turned off if you’re preparing to replace or repair your washer!
To an experienced plumber, locating and shutting off water valves throughout a property is a no-brainer, but we know it’s not so simple for folks who aren’t as knowledgeable about the trade, it can be complicated and intimidating to get started. We hope this article helped you demystify the process of locating your shutoff valves, so you’re prepared and know exactly how to take action if you ever find yourself in the midst of a plumbing crisis!