Did you know, the water from a pipe burst will continue to flow into your home until its main source is shut off? If this were to happen to your home, would you be able to find the main shut off valve before the water causes too much damage? If your answer is no, don’t be ashamed. A majority of people would be in the same situation you are in. Many people do not know where or how to shut off the water supply. Whether you are in an emergency situation or just heading away on vacation for a while, it is important and beneficial to know how this works.
The main water supply valve is the valve that you need to be able to locate in an emergency. Find it before an emergency occurs so, when you’re in a pinch, you know where it is. This valve is usually in the basement or on an outside wall in a utility area of the house. In many homes the hot water heater is near this valve. Follow the cold water supply line to the hot water heater; this will lead to the main shutoff valve. The main shutoff valve allows a full flow of water through the pipe when it’s open. Turning off this valve (by turning it clockwise) cuts off the water supply to the entire house.
The main shutoff valve in your house probably has one of two designs:
· Gate valve: Gate valves are very reliable and last for years, but they become difficult to turn after not being turned for years. If you haven’t closed the main shutoff valve since you moved into your house, do it now. Better to find out that you can’t turn it with your bare hands now than to wait until you’re standing in 6 inches of water.
· Ball valve: Houses with plastic or copper main water pipes leading into the house may have a full-flow ball valve. This valve is open when the handle is aligned with the pipe. To close it, turn the handle clockwise 1/4 turn so that it’s at a right angle to the pipe.
If you have a leak from an appliance or pipe, don’t panic! The best thing you can do it shut off the water supply to your whole home and call us immediately.