You have a few reasons to turn off your home’s water supply. You might want to avoid potential leaks while you’re out of town or need to stem the flow of water before a scheduled plumbing repair. Then, there are the plumbing emergencies, situations like a burst pipe or overflowing toilet that demand immediate action. Whatever is compelling you, there are two ways to shut off the water—turn your home’s main water valve or shut off the water to a specific fixture.
How to Turn Off the Main Water Supply
Step 1: Locate the Valve
There isn’t a standard location for the main water shut-off valve, so you’ll have to check a few different places. Here’s where to look:
- In a utility area close to ground level on the side of your house facing the street, such as the basement, garage, or water heater closet
- Outside on an exterior wall, such as near the water meter or an outdoor faucet
- Buried near the street in a concrete box with a metal lid labeled “water” or “water meter”
Step 2: Turn the Valve
If the valve is located inside your home, you should be able to turn it by hand. For a lever-like ball valve, turn the handle 90 degrees so it’s perpendicular to the water pipe. For a round gate valve, turn the handle clockwise as far as it will go.
If you find an underground water meter box near your property line, you may need a meter key to get inside. If you don’t have one, a long screwdriver may do the trick. Remove the lid and look inside. You should see a ball valve on the side of the box closest to your house. Turn this valve 90 degrees so it’s perpendicular to the water pipe. If it’s too stiff to move by hand, try using a wrench.
Step 3: Release the Pressure in the Pipes
Whether you’re turning off the water as a preventative measure or when dealing with a plumbing emergency, open a faucet on the lowest level of your home to drain the hot and cold water lines. This relieves pressure on the pipes and prevents further damage.
How to Turn Off the Water to Individual Plumbing Fixtures
If you need to repair a leaky faucet, toilet, or washing machine hose, you should be able to shut off the water to that specific fixture or appliance. Look for an isolation valve on the wall behind it and turn the valve clockwise as far as it will go to stop the flow of water.
Need help finding your home’s main water valve? Looking for an emergency plumber in Seattle to lend a hand? Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating is here for you. We have over 20 years of experience delivering unbeatable service and exceeding our customers’ expectations. Reach us any time of day or night by calling (206) 938-3219, or contact us online to request plumbing services in the Puget Sound area.