Home Maintenance Tips: Water Shut-Off Valves

Do you know where the main water shut-off valve is located in your residence?  Knowing where to find this valve could save you a lot of water, money and damage to your property.  The main shut-off valve is located either inside or outside of your house.  Turning the valve off will completely stop your water supply, which could be necessary in the instance of burst pipe, flooding toilet, or other common household problem. A word of caution – do not shut off your water in the colder winter months unless absolutely necessary, as stopped water flow could cause your water meter or pipes to freeze.  

Most homes are equipped with individual emergency shutoff valves at sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, washing machines and water heaters.  You should locate the valves for tubs and showers prior to actually needing to use them, as they are frequently installed behind wood or plastic access panels or in adjoining closets or hallways.  Know how to shut off these valves prior to an emergency.

You should test your shut-off valves at least once each year, as they are prone to rust and mineral damage.  Making sure the valve mechanism can open and close easily and hasn't dried out (in the case of plastic valves) or rusted open will save you from considerable headaches if and when a water emergency happens. Getting familiar with your water shut-off valves is one of the easiest things you can do as a homeowner, and knowing where to find them and ensuring they function properly will pay dividends.