Shutting off the water to your home is one of the simplest plumbing tasks you can do as a homeowner, landlord, or home business owner. It’s really as easy as locating the water valve that feeds the water into your home and closing off that valve.
If you have a water leak in your home, it’s important to know how to shut off the water so that the leak doesn’t continue to build and grow. Determining this information before a plumbing emergency means you’ll know exactly what to do if and when you detect a leak in your home.
You may find this video useful, too, as it contains a brief explanation of how to find your main water shut-off valve and how to shut it off yourself.
Disclaimer: If you don’t own the home and are renting, always attempt to contact your landlord before taking any action. You may be shielded from liability by the specifications of your lease if you have to take action without their permission.
How Do I Locate The Valve?
The valve for the water will be attached to the pipes that bring the water into your home. Its location will depend on your home’s foundation and the layout of its plumbing:
If your home is built on a slab, the main water shut-off valve can be found near your water heater tank, either underneath or at the top.
If your home has a crawl space, the water shutoff may be found underneath the crawl space in your home.
- If your home has a basement (finished or unfinished), the water shutoff will be located wherever water enters your home inside of the basement.
- If your home does not have a basement, the water shutoff will usually be near your water heater or under the kitchen sink.
If your home has an attached garage, the water shut-off will frequently be found inside the garage, where the outside plumbing pipe connects to the plumbing system inside of your home.
What If I Still Can’t Find the Valve?
If you’re still unsure, or unable to locate the water shut-off valve, one place to begin is along the perimeter of the inside of your home. Look for where the plumbing enters your home from the outside. If you can locate the water meter, the plumbing will most likely run from there to the closest part of our home’s perimeter.
The valve may also be located underneath a metal cover, or underneath your house, like in a basement or crawl space.
You may want to try digging up the paperwork you have from the home inspection you had when you purchased your house and find out where the water shut-off valve is located based on the diagram and descriptions left by the inspector.
Call a Trusted Plumber
All is not lost if you can’t find the main water shut-off valve. If you have a leak and can’t figure out where the shut-off valve is located, contact a plumber to address the problem ASAP. At Silver State, we have same-day or emergency services available to immediately address the problem if you have a leak in your system.
Alternatives to Finding the Main Shut-Off Valve
If you can’t find the main shut-off valve for water coming into your house, there are some alternatives you might want to try.
If you can’t find the main water shut-off valve to the house and you know the source of the leak is a specific fixture or appliance, such as the washing machine, sink, bathtub, or toilet, look for the isolation valve that connects that particular fixture or appliance to the water in the home and shut it off. You can do this in lieu of turning off the water to the whole house in order to isolate the leak coming from that source.
- Washing machine: shut-off valves are typically behind or above the appliance
- Sink: hot and cold water shut-off valves are usually under the sink
- Bathtub: the shut-off valves will be located behind an access panel
- Toilet: the isolation valve is typically on the adjacent wall or floor to the toilet
City Shut-Off Valve
There’s a shut-off valve in the ground on your property or the surrounding sidewalk. Your city or municipality controls this valve, and it is illegal to shut it off. You may, however, call your city’s emergency services line to see if you can obtain permission to shut off the water by using this valve. Or, they may send a team out to do it for you.
How to Shut Off the Main Valve
Once you have located the valve, you may apply clockwise force to tighten the valve until it won’t tighten anymore. If the valve seems to be loosening, it’s likely being turned the wrong way. With few exceptions, these valves are installed to be tightened (closed) by turning the lever clockwise (or “righty-tighty”) and loosened (opened) by turning it counterclockwise (“lefty-loosey”). Since there are probably exceptions out there, pay close attention to the feel of the valve lever. This will ensure you’re turning it the correct way.
Plumbing Problems? Contact Silver State
As always, Silver State is here to assist with any plumbing emergency that may arise. We hope to hear from you soon!