If you experience a major plumbing leak in your house, what would you do?
You would probably say you’d call your local plumber and that is, indeed, a smart move to make. However, that’s only second on the list of things to do during a plumbing emergency. Pause for a second and think of what you should do first. Remember, your home is getting flooded by the second – what should be your first instinct? Yes! You should shut off your main water valve at once. But the question is – do you know where it is?
A Very Simple Process
If your home is connected to the municipal water supply, then it has the main shut-off valve that can quickly put a stop to the flow of water to all the appliances, fixtures, and pipes. Most of the time, this valve can be found next to the water meter.
Unfortunately, the location of the water meter is not always that obvious. Sometimes it can be found on the side of the house or it may be attached to a post, but most often, it is hidden underground. You should check around your home for a metal cover or perhaps a small hatch which looks somewhat like a manhole cover. Once you find the water meter, you should be able to find the valve next to it. Not all valves look exactly the same. There are ordinary spigot handles while some look like metal flanges that could appear like a part of the water line. Make sure that you look closely! If it’s not possible to turn the valve by hand, try using a pipe wrench or a water key. You can find one at a hardware store. Make sure you keep it where you can easily grab it in case of an emergency.
Find the Others!
Now that you know where the main shut-off valve, it’s a great idea to check all your fixtures and appliances to know where their dedicated shut-off valves are located, too. It’s likely that you can close these valves by hand.
Sink valves are often beneath the sink while toilet valves are almost always attached to the water line from the wall. Appliance valves are usually easily turned on and off by hand. Note that these valves can be located behind the appliances, so it’s a good idea to come up with a plan for an easy access in case an emergency occurs.
Try It Yourself
Just to make sure you know exactly what you’re going to do in a really bad situation, familiarize yourself – meaning, try to turn the valves off. You might even find that a valve or two are stuck, and then you can spray them a bit with lubricant so you can turn them easily when it matters.