Learn About These Important Shut-Off Valves To Avoid A Home Plumbing Disaster

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When a plumbing disaster strikes, the first step is often to turn off the water supply so that you don't experience flooding. Your home's water supply is controlled with a system of shut-off valves that can turn off all of your home's water, part of your home's water, or simply the water to whatever fixture is having problems.

You need to learn how to find and operate the shut-off valves in your home even if you plan to call in a plumber. Turning off the water until help arrives can save you hours of cleanup, water damage, and headaches.

Outdoor Main Shutoff

The main shutoff turns off your home's entire water supply with one twist of a valve. Where that valve is actually located can differ between houses, but it is usually with your water meter. Still don't know where the shutoff is located? There are a few places to check.

Start by looking along your exterior walls for an affixed meter or along the ground for a closed metal box. If you see the meter out in the open, you should see one valve on each side of the meter. You want to turn the one closest to your house. If the valve looks like a little handle, you only need to turn it in the opposite direction until it stops, which will be about 90 degrees from where the handle started. If the valve has a circular or washer-like handle, turn the handle clockwise several times, then check an outdoor spigot to make sure the water is off.

Found a metal box instead of an exposed meter? This is called a Buffalo box and the meter and valve are inside.

Can't find the meter or a metal box regardless of how many times you circle your home? Your shut-off is likely inside your home.

Indoor Main Shutoff

Check your basement, utility room, or under-home crawlspace. Some homes have an indoor shutoff valve and water meter, but the setup is usually very near an easily accessed entrance such as exterior basement stairs so that a water worker can get to the equipment quickly if necessary.

The shutoff process works the same way as the outdoor shutoff procedure. How do you determine what valve is closest to your home when the valves are inside your house? While the correct choice is usually the rightmost valve, it is best to call your water company to make sure. Otherwise you can turn off the water supply from the city to your meter rather than from your meter to your house.

Fixture Shutoff

Did your toilet suddenly start overflowing? Don't waste the time running for your main water supply. Locate the shutoff valve behind the toilet near the floor and turn the valve to turn off the supply to only the toilet.

Every water-using fixture in your home has a shutoff valve, though the valve isn't always easy to access. Sink valves are usually located under the sink and resemble a toilet shutoff valve. Your bathtub and shower will also have a shutoff valve, but this is sometimes buried in an actual wall, which means you are better off turning off the entire water supply until a plumber can come in to work on the problem.

Contact a service like Midwestern Plumbing Service for more information.

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9 December 2015

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