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Knowing where your plumbing shut-off valve is located

Posted by Tingey Plumbing, Heating & Air
on 28 June 2016
plumbing shut-off valve

Blog Highlights:

  • Knowing how to turn-off your home’s water can help you avoid damages during an emergency
  • Knowing where the shut-off valve is located is crucial when it comes to avoiding water damage
  • In shutting-off the well water plumbing, it might be necessary for you to wait until the water pressure goes down
  • Turning-off city water might require the use of a meter key

Knowing how to turn-off your home’s water during an emergency is vital especially when it comes to avoiding water damage and in saving money.One only has to imagine having an unexpected plumbing emergency to see exactly how difficult it can be to deal with such a problem. Having a sudden downpour of water through the ceiling from the bathroom upstairs will probably put many homeowners in shock. If such a scenario were to happen, would you be able to turn-off the water and control the damage that the leak might cause?

Potable water systems are one of the most important things that each home must have. This is why it is very important for homeowners to be very familiar with their own systems so that they can save time and money.

The very first thing that you need to know about your water system is where the shut-off valve is located. Depending on whether your home is on city water or on a private well, the shut-off valve’s location can vary.

Shutting-off the well water plumbing

If your home is on a private well, there are several options that you need to consider when turning-off the water.

The pressure tank – Most modern tanks are colored blue, older tanks on the other hand, are typically made of steel. In most cases, the shut-off valve is located on the pipe that connects the tank towards the house. Turning the valve off will immediately eliminate the flow of water in the house.

Shut-off valves before the tank – If the shut-off valve is located before the tank, you need to wait for the pressure in the tank to go down. You can open all the faucets and hoses outside the house to speed up the decrease in pressure.

Pressure gauges will drop to zero before the water can fully stop flowing. There are also systems that do not have a shut-off valve, or have one that is no longer operable.

For those who still do not know how to shut-off their water system, their last resort would have to be to shut-off the power of the well pump through the electrical panel. You need to make sure however, that the breakers have been labeled properly beforehand.  Also, with this method, you will still have to wait until the pressure inside the tank has bled-out.

Turning-off city water

For homes that are on city water, you should know that meters control the water supply. These are typically found on the sidewalk or on the front yard of your house.

As soon as you have located it, you will have to take the lid off. You need to be careful in doing so, as there might be insects living inside it.

The meter has two sides. One is for the city, and the opposite one is for the homeowners.

At the homeowner’s side, you will typically see a hand-operated shut-off valve. The valve is closed by rotating it in a clockwise direction.

If there isn’t any hand-operated valve, then you will need to shut-off the water using the city side of the meter. You need to insert a meter key into the right notch that will turn clockwise. As soon as the holes are lined up, the water will be turned-off.

Always be prepared

Homeowners whose houses are on city water must have a meter key ready. These can be easily purchased at your local hardware store. Just keep in mind that the city does not recommend homeowners to use a meter key unless it is an emergency.

No one wants to be in a plumbing emergency. But by preparing yourself and by familiarizing yourself with your home’s shut-off valve, you will be more capable of dealing with unexpected water problems. For those who have questions about their own plumbing system, we highly recommend that you contact a local plumber.