Did you know that your house has a main shut off valve for the plumbing? Do you know where it is? Have you ever considered what you would do if one of your plumbing fixtures began leaking out of control? Or if you had a pipe burst inside the house?
I am often surprised at how many of my plumbing customers do not know where their main shut off valve is, or how to turn it off in case of a plumbing emergency. Simply knowing where the valve is located and how to turn it off can save thousands of dollars in damages and repairs if there is a problem.
So where do you begin to look if you don’t know where it is? You can start by looking around in your mechanical room. Often the main shut off valve will be located near the water heater. You will be looking for a pipe that comes out of the ground, and a short way up you should see some kind of valve.
If you cannot find the valve in the mechanical area, you might need to look toward the front of the house. By locating the water meter in front of the house, (it is the round metal lid in the yard) and drawing an imaginary line toward the house, usually you can guess pretty close where the water plumbing comes into the house. Check the walls in the basement for access panels or wall openings. Sometimes they are in closets.
If your house has a crawl space, you will likely find the main shut off valve somewhere towards the front of the house in there.
Once you have located the main water valve, it is important make sure it works. Older valves can be difficult to turn, and might not shut off all the way. By shutting off the valve, and opening a faucet, you can make sure that the water will shut off. If the valve will not shut off, or if it is stiff and difficult to turn, you might consider having it repaired or replaced.
Another reason to shut off your main water is if you will be gone from the house for a period of time. Even if it is just for a few days on vacation, by simply shutting off the valve and opening a faucet, you can prevent a flood from happening while you are away. (You might also turn the water heater down to “Low” or “Vacation” if you are gone for long to save energy.)
As always, Jerry’s Plumbing Repair is glad to help. If you cannot find the valve, or if you would like to have it repaired or replaced, feel free to give us a call. Knowing how and where to shut of the water to your property can give you greater peace of mind.