By Bellevue Plumbing Pro

Do you know what to do if your household plumbing suddenly springs a leak? Although calling a plumber is smart, it should not be your first instinct if your home is under water. You should immediately shut off the main water valve in your home. However, you won’t be able to do this if you don’t know how to do it.

A One-Step Process

Each home that is connected to the municipal water supply system has a main shutoff valve. This valve can cut off water flow to any pipes, fixtures, or appliances. This valve is usually located near the water meter.

It is not always easy to find the location of your water meters. It may be located on the side of your house, or attached to an above-ground post. But it is often underground. You may find a small metal cover or hatch in your home, similar to a manhole cover. Open the lid to expose the water meter. To locate the water meter, contact your local plumber or water authority.

The valve will be connected to the water line near the water meter. However, not all valves are the same. Others are the same spigot handles you would find on your garden-hose faucet. Some may appear to be part of the waterline while others are made from metal flanges. If you have any questions, please contact your local water authority.

Besides a valve near a water meter, you may have a shut off valve on a pipe coming up out of the ground and then going into the house.

If the valve is not easy to turn by hand, you may need a pipe wrench or long-handled plumbing wrench known as a water key. These are available at most hardware stores and should be kept on hand in an emergency.

Here, There, and Everywhere

After you have learned how to shut off the water supply to your home, it is a good idea to inspect your appliances and fixtures to find their shut-off valves. They are most likely to be easy to close manually, but they could be stuck open if they haven’t been used for a while.

Sink valves are located under the sink or inside the cabinet if one exists. It is also easy to find toilet valves — it is usually a small handle attached at the water line that runs from the wall.

Appliance valves such as those for the dishwasher or washing machine will likely be of the hand crank variety. These valves can sometimes be concealed behind appliances so it is important to have a plan in place for accessing them quickly in an emergency.

The valve may be located inside walls for other fixtures such as showers or tubs. These valves can be accessed by removing hardware such as faucet handles and faceplates.

Give It a Try

It’s a good idea to turn off every valve to get used to the process. This is especially important if the valve becomes stuck. A little lubricant spray can help make it easy to close the valve when every second counts.

Contact Bellevue Plumbing Pro if you have difficulty opening a stuck valve or finding your main water shutoff. Call us at (509) 818-0536 or contact us online.