One of the first things you want to do is stop the leak by shutting off the water. But do you know how to do it?
Read on to learn how to use the water shut off valves in your home to stop leaks, prevent water damage, and make repairs. We cover the main water line, water heaters, toilets, and washing machines below.
How to Shut Off the Main Water Supply
You may have to turn off the main water supply if you run into an issue like frozen pipes or a burst pipe.
There are two ways to turn off the main water supply:
- At the main water valve by the street
- At the homeowner shutoff (usually located by your front flowerbed)
You can use whichever you feel most comfortable with.
But first, you need to know where the valve to the main water supply or the homeowner shutoff is located. If you don’t know, call a plumber for assistance. Don’t wait to find out! It’s a good idea to learn the location before you run into a serious issue.
Turn Off the Main Water Valve
- Find the valve of the main water supply – You may need a street key to access the main terminal box.
- Twist the valve in a clockwise rotation until it shuts down completely – You may need to use a wrench to get enough torque to turn the valve.
- Open the external faucet to relieve the pressure and let out the water from the system.
Turn Off Water at the Homeowner Shutoff
- Find the homeowner shutoff in the box near where your front flowerbeds are or would be.
- Turn the valve clockwise until it shuts down completely.
- Open the faucet to relieve pressure and let out the water from the system.
How to Turn Off the Hot Water Heater
If you have a leak at your water heater or on a hot water line, it’s important to turn off the water as quickly as possible to reduce the water damage to your home and belongings. These steps will stop a leak from becoming a disaster.
Step 1: Turn off Gas or Electricity
Make sure that the electricity or gas supply to the water heater is off. Never work near water with electricity running to the appliance.
For an electric water heater:
- Find the specific breaker for the water heater on the panel of your circuit breaker.
- If you’re not sure which it is, you may have to guess until you find the right one.
- Take note of what each one switches off, and mark the breakers, so this process is easier in the future!
- Switch it off.
For a gas water heater:
- Find the thermostat knob of the heater – It’s generally found at the lower part of the appliance.
- Turn it clockwise until it reaches the “off” position.
Step 2: Turn Off the Water
- Locate the handle at the top of the heater on one of the two incoming water lines.
- Close the valve by twisting the handle clockwise.
- Keep twisting until the water stops running.
Step 3: Drain the Water
Even though you’ve stopped water from running into the appliance, there will still be water left in the tank, which could leak, so it’s best to drain the water out.
- Get a water hose.
- Connect it to the drain faucet, located at the lower part of the water heater.
- Run the hose away from you, pointing it into a tub or outside, if possible.
- Pro Tip: Rusty or hot water can cause injury, so always place the other end of the hose lower than the appliance.
- Secure the connection of the hose at the drain faucet.
- Once the hose is secure, open the water heater’s drain faucet to allow the water to drain out.
- Opening the hot side of a water faucet in your house will also help the water drain by relieving suction on the line.
How to Shut Off Water to Your Toilet
Turning off the water to your toilet is extremely easy, and it comes in handy if you experience an overflowing toilet or one that simply won’t stop running.
- Locate the stop valve behind and below your toilet.
- Turn the valve clockwise
- If you’re having trouble turning the valve, put on a pair of heavy-duty gloves, or use pliers.
How to Shut Off Washing Machine Water Lines
If your washing machine is experiencing a leak or you need to perform repairs, you’ll want to turn off the water supply. Depending on the type of washing machine you have, there are a couple ways to shut off the water.
If You Have a Valve
If you have a valve, turning off the water to your washing machine is very similar to the procedure for shutting off the water to your toilet.
- Find the two water shut off valves There will be two valves located behind your washing machine: one for hot water and the other for cold.
- Turn the valves clockwise.
- Use gloves or pliers, if needed.
If You Have a Lever
Newer washing machines use a lever instead of a valve. If you have this,
- Pull down on the lever to stop water to your appliance.
If you’re experiencing a leak within your home, knowing how to control the water shut off valves to your main appliances can prevent the issue from getting worse, saving your budget, your possessions, and your home. It’s a good idea to locate all shut off valves and regularly check the shutoff valves in your house to ensure they are working correctly before an emergency occurs. A difficult-to-turn shutoff, one that shows signs of rust, or one that is leaking should be replaced.
Have you shut off your water because you’re experiencing a problem with your plumbing? It’s best to have it handled right away, so you can go back to using your water and appliances! The expert, licensed technicians at C&W Plumbing are available 24/7. Simply call 972-395-2597!
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