Did you know you can shut off the water supply to your entire home as well as individual fixtures without professional help? Not only can you do it, you should know how to do it.
This quick guide will prepare you for water-related emergencies around the house like burst pipes, water leaks, and plumbing problems. As a bonus, it’ll also show you how to turn water off to individual fixtures including toilets, sinks, dishwashers and more, so you can handle basic maintenance and upgrades yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy this is.
Why Would I Need To Shut Off My Water Supply?
Say you’re a snowbird heading coastal for a warmer winter … your yard is dotted with trees and therefore growing roots and shifting soil … or clogs and corrosion finally become too much for your water pipes to handle.
In the blink of an eye, any pipe can burst due to temperature, damage, water pressure, age, and abuse. Suddenly, water pours all over your entire house. When these kinds of plumbing emergencies happen, panic sets in and the uninformed frantically call a licensed plumber out. Not only are you on the hook for thousands in damage, said plumber is going to expect fair pay for what could have been prevented by a DIY project.
The faster you shut off the main water line, the more likely you are to prevent and minimize damage from any plumbing emergency.
So now’s a good time to get up to speed on the fastest and safest way to shut off the water supply to your whole house.
The Wrong Way To Shut Off Your Home’s Main Water Supply
Let’s start with the basics: Your municipality’s water line travels underground, then splits off to feed tap water into each individual house. As a matter of fact, there’s a sunken access box (also known as a “meter box”) in your front yard near your property line to provide your municipality easy access to your water supply.
Don't open that box; it’s for them, not you. And in most cases, it requires a meter key to access and some protection from anything that lies beneath (rodents, insects, and other pests often seek shelter there). Instead, let’s walk through how to shut off your water supply the right way: at your main water shut-off valve.
The Right Way To Shut Off Your Home’s Main Water Supply
For your safety and convenience, we recommend shutting off your water supply at your main water shut-off valve. This valve is built for your personal use. It’s found near your water meter, typically in your garage or basement right where the water line from your municipality enters your home.
In warmer climates, this main shut-off valve can often be found in the corner of your garage near an outside wall. In colder climates, it’s usually in the basement at the foundation of your home. In both cases, you can find it near your water heater or water tank (maybe even behind a cover or in a crawlspace).
Once you locate the shut-off valve, you’ll find a handle or wheel atop the supply valve. In case you’re curious, gate valves typically have a wheel and are often found in older homes. Ball valves typically have a handle and are often found in newer homes. Regardless, turn that handle or spin that wheel to the right until it stops to “close” the valve and stop the flow of water throughout your home. When you’re done, turn counterclockwise to reopen the valve.
How To Turn Off Water To Individual Fixtures
Depending on the situation, you may not need to shut off your main water supply. Let’s say you’re installing a fridge or sink filter and simply need to shut off the water supply to each to avoid turning your kitchen or bathroom into a swimming pool.
Easy. Each fixture has its own water valve (or two) with a handle or knob behind or beneath it. Your job is to turn that handle or knob to shut that water supply off. However, there are a few things to keep in mind: Sinks and washing machines each have two water valves; one for hot water and one for cold water, and your dishwasher’s water valve is usually underneath your sink.
Here’s a quick list to help you locate the appropriate water valve(s) for each fixture:
- Toilets: Find the valve beneath the toilet.
- Fridges: Find the valve on the wall behind the fridge.
- Sinks: Find the hot and cold water valves underneath the sink.
- Washing machines: Find the hot and cold water valves on the wall behind the washing machine.
- Dishwashers: Find the valve underneath the sink, near the sink’s hot and cold water valves. This is usually one of three valves underneath the sink.
Protect Your Home & Protect Yourself
Protect your home from water damage by knowing how to shut off your main water supply. And protect yourself, your family, and your health from tainted tap water with our advanced water filters proven to virtually eliminate the common and covert contaminants lurking in the tap. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners and renters trust our advanced inline fridge filter and 3-stage under-the-sink filtration system because each provides far more protection than typical filters. Plus, both can be safely installed in minutes simply by shutting off the water supply to your fridge or sink. Upgrade today to enjoy easy access to clean, safe water from any fridge or faucet.
* This blog offers water supply information and is designed for educational purposes only.