How To Shut Off Your Water Main In An Emergency

If you own a home, knowing how to turn off your water main is nearly as important as being able to turn off the gas in an emergency. While nearly all plumbing devices have a method for shutting off the water locally, that's not always possible depending on your emergency. Read on to learn why you need to know how to do this and how to get it done.

Why It's Useful

Knowing where your water main is and how to shut it off can be very useful in a crisis. If you have an earthquake or incoming tornado or hurricane, shutting off your water supply could potentially save you from wasting hundreds of gallons of water or more. It's also not a bad idea to shut off your water before you leave home for a vacation so that dripping faucets and water heaters aren't continuing to waste water and money.

When You Should Do It

If you have a toilet that's overflowing, you would probably just shut off the water at the toilet's intake until the problem is solved. However, there are sometimes instances where you could potentially get injured trying to do that.

Imagine that you have a hot water pipe burst under your kitchen sink, or your water heater has burst and is spraying hot water everywhere. You'll need to turn the water off, but sticking your hand under the sink or anywhere near the water heater could cover you in scalding burns. In these instances, it's safer to turn off the water remotely at the water main.

How to Do It

Your first step is to locate your home's water shut-off valve. Some valves are indoors, while others are outdoors, typically located near or on the water meter your utility company uses to track your usage. If you don't know where your valve is, contact your water company or a plumber to help you to find it.

Thankfully, once located, turning off a water main is typically an easy task. Water mains have valves that can be turned to shut off the water flow to your house. If the valve is too hard for you to turn, you may need to apply some lubricant to it or use a wrench to apply more force. If neither of these work, contact a plumber for assistance; your valve may need replacing.

If the valve turns easily, simply close the valve. You can make sure that the water supply is shut off by running any faucet in your home. There should be some initial water flow due to the water that was already in the pipes inside your home, but it should peter off quickly.

If you shut off your water main because you need repairs made to a leak, make sure to let your plumber or know that you've taken care of the water main first. They may turn it back on temporarily to examine the leak. For more help, call a company like Milford Plumbing & Heating today.