In the event of a pipe burst or leak, shut off valves become your best friend. They allow you to shut off the water supply of your home to limit further leaking and damage and allow you to make whatever plumbing repair needs to be made without pressurized water in your system.
Where is My Shut Off Valve?
Many homeowners do not know where their main shut off valve is. The location may vary depending on when your home was built, the climate your home is in and how you get your water. In warmer climates, it’s not uncommon to find a shut off valve on the outside of your home. Here in Bucks County, where we have 4 seasons, the main shut off valve is almost always located inside the home in a utility area, such as a garage or basement. Some homes with public water supply can find their valves under a utility panel in the ground closer to the curb. If you have a well, the shut off valve is very likely in a utility area.
How Do I Shut Off the Water?
Some valves, particularly in newer homes, have a levered ball valve. By turning the valve ¼ turn, you cut off the water supply to your home. Other valves can have a rectangular knob. In this case you need a tool, such as a wrench, to turn it closed. You may also find a gate valve (looks like your garden hose spigot) which you can hand turn. There are several other types and you should familiarize yourself where it is and what you might need to use it in the event of an emergency.
Once your water main valve is shut off, open a couple faucets to allow water and pressure to drain from the system.
Should I Perform Maintenance?
You should move your valve once in a blue moon. It’s worth knowing that it works and that the valve articulates as it should. If you have really old, corroded plumbing or you don’t think your valve works, have a plumber come and inspect and/or test it. This way, if something breaks, your plumber is there to make any needed repairs.
Do I Really Need to Shut Off My Entire Home?
If you only have a water main shut off valve, then yes. However, many newer homes have shut off valves at virtually every service, including toilets, dishwashers, sinks, laundry, etc. If you experience a broken pipe in a specific area of your home, you should be able to find a shut off valve that allows you to cut off water to the break without shutting down your entire home.
I Don’t Have Many Shut Off Valves
If you are unsure if your main shut off works or want shut off valves installed in your home, ask while a plumber is on site. For instance, if you are replacing a dishwasher, you might as well add a shut off valve while the water service is off. The labor is quite minimal depending on the situation since the plumber is already on site.
If you do not know where your shut off is, or know how to locate them, walk around and check out under your sinks and in your basement for clues. You don’t want to scramble looking for a shut off valve if you have a burst pipe, where gallons of damage causing water is pouring out every minute. Every second counts.
McMackin Mechanical has years of experience offering plumbing services to the Doylestown community. We offer, fast, professional and high-quality work in all our installations and repairs. If you are interested in getting control of your plumbing system and/or need to add or replace shut off valves in your water system, give our team a call and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment.