Hopefully the water you have coming into your home, and the systems installed to provide this, work properly and you don’t have to think much of them. Normally, the main water flow system doesn’t require much maintenance. However, when something does go wrong, it happens very quickly and causes a big mess. The first thing that should be done when this happens is to locate your main water shut off valve and get the water to stop as soon as possible to prevent secondary damages.

When would I need to know where and how to shut off my home’s water supply?

  • A broken pipe can cause mass chaos in your home. This pipe may have frozen, cracked and then thawed out or it could be an old pipe needing to be replaced.
  • A faucet that has sprung a leak and needs to be repaired.
  • A broken and leaking water heater – a pool of water around the base of the heater will be an indication.
  • Any leaking pipe, whether it is in the walls, evidenced by wet spots on the drywall and along the baseboards of any room next to a wall that has pipes in it.
  • A frozen outside water bib that has thawed out and is now leaking.
  • Any do it yourself projects that involve water fixtures. Accessing the main water shut off valve is appropriate to ensure nothing is damaged by any water that may leak or spurt out while working on that fixture.
  • A leaking or broken water pipe under the slab of the house. This often hard to notice and can be evidenced by detecting a soft spot under the floor or a musty, earthy smell. This is a condition that must have professional assistance to deal with, but turning the water off at the main water shut off valve to stop further leaking is a good place for you to start.

All of the above issues need immediate attention by you turning the water off before any real damage can happen and while you are calling the plumber or gathering your tools.

How do I find the main water shut off valve?

There are two categories of water shut off valves. One type will be under the sinks, around the toilet tank and by the water heater. These control the water feed to the faucets, toilet water tank or the water heater and not to anything else. If these items need the servicing, you can stop there by turning the handle to the right, shutting the water to the fixture off, taking care of the problem and turning it back on after everything is tight. Do you have a plumbing emergency? We offer plumbing repair services such as tankless water heater installation, drain cleaning, septic tank repair, backflow testing, kitchen sink installation, gas line repair, and traditional water heater repair.

Locating the main water shut off valve can be confusing if it was not shown to you during the purchase inspection. Chances are the valve can be found in the garage, utility room or storage area. It might be behind an interior wall, behind an access panel or door. A look at your home inspection document may give you some guidance.

  • The first thing to identify is where your water meter is. If you trace the location of that meter to your home, in a straight line, the place to look for the main water shut off valve will be right there on the interior of that wall.
  • If you have one of the few Florida homes with a basement, you want to look at the perimeter of the house at or above eye level. The main water supply comes in about one to two feet below the surface of the ground. A pipe, hopefully with a handle, will be the main water shut off valve.
  • If there is no basement, it may be in the garage, utility room or storage area. It might be behind an interior wall, hopefully, accessible through a panel or door. A look at your home inspection document may give you some guidance. A call to a local plumbing service company can also help you.

The Main Water Meter

This is usually out front because that is where the municipal water comes from. It should be fairly easy to find as the water company must locate it each month or two to read the meter. If you pull the cover off and look inside, you will see the meter and one or two valve handles. If there are two, each one is on separate sides of the meter.

  • The one on the street side will be the one the water company uses to shut the water off when you have not paid your bill and takes a tool you do not have access to.
  • The main water shut off valve to your house in on the house side of the meter and takes a tool you can purchase from a plumbing supply or home improvement store.
  • In an emergency you can use an adjustable jaw (crescent) wrench and a screwdriver to turn the handle to the right to shut off all water from reaching your house.

Most of the time you have to access the main water shut off valve, there is really a problem. Contact Bill Fenwick Plumbing Inc. when this needs to happen and we will make sure all of your plumbing problems are resolved.

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