Monday, November 3, 2014

Back To Basics - Locating You Water Shut-Off Valves

One of the things I talk about in a number of my classes (home maintenance, plumbing and weatherizing) is the importance of knowing where your main and individual water shut-off valves are located.  This is not only vital information in an emergency, it is also important for safely and efficiently completing your home repairs and improvements.

The following is a list of the shut off valves and switches and how to locate them.

Main water shut off valve
This valve is typically located on the lowest level of your home which in some cases may be a crawl
space. Go to the wall that is closest to the street and look for a valve that looks like one of these pictures and is connected to a pipe that is coming through the foundation wall below ground level or up from the ground in a crawl space.
If you can't find it this way start at your water heater and follow the cold water pipe until you can find where it enters the house.  Your shut off valve may be concealed behind a panel in the wall in a finished basement.
Water shut-off valve for sprinkler systems.
This valve is typically located near the main water shut off.  The water supply line for irrigation systems often branches off the main water line near were it enters the home.  Look for a shut off valve that looks like the main shut off valve.

Individual water shut off valves
In newer homes it is required that every individual fixture (sink, toilet, washing machines, laundry tubs) has a shut off valve on any water supply line.  This is not necessarily true for tubs and showers and I don't know why that is.  The valves should visible and accessible. Look under sinks, behind toilets and behind your clothes washer.

Water Heater shut off valve.
Every water heater should have a shut off valve on the cold water

supply line to the unit. This allows the unit to be serviced or replaced without having to shut the water off to the entire house.

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