The holidays are hectic enough without plumbing problems! Unfortunately, entertaining guests, being away from home to visit with loved ones, and icy temperatures can take a toll on your home’s plumbing. Dealing with plumbing emergencies is bad enough, but dealing with one during the winter holiday season can truly be draining — pun intended!
Water is essential for life but it can also create a ton of damage if you’re not careful or properly prepared. Learning how to shut off your main water valve can help you tackle a plumbing emergency such as frozen or burst piping until you can call us for help. Doing so will significantly reduce the amount of water damage you’re likely to experience!
The seasoned plumbers here at Raymark Plumbing & Sewer understand just how gut-wrenching plumbing emergencies can be. We’re committed to offering a wide range of plumbing services in order to meet your needs, whether they’re routine, urgent, or somewhere in between.
Here’s how you can find your main water valve and shut it off.
Identify your main water valve
Main water valves are either found inside the home in a basement, crawlspace or utility room to prevent freezing in colder climates or they can be found along an outside wall in warmer climates. Main water valves are often found nearby water meters and can be identified by their valves and handles. Handles that are round and look like wheels are called gate valves while flat handles shaped like popsicle sticks are known as ball valves. After successfully identifying your main water valve, share its location with the rest of the household so they can too can be prepared in the event of a plumbing emergency.
Turn the handle clockwise
Regardless of the handle or valve style, turning it clockwise will shut off the supply of cold water to your home. For a round gate valve, this may require several rotations. Ball valves on the other hand have a limited range of motion of 90 degrees and only need to be turned until they’re perpendicular to the pipe. You may need to use a wrench for stubborn or stuck handles that cannot be turned by hand. Any appliances that use water in or outside your home
will no longer work until water is restored by turning the valve to back to the left, or counterclockwise.
Turn your faucets all the way on
It may seem a bit odd to your on your faucets after turning off your main water valve but doing so will drain any leftover water from your home’s plumbing. Simply turn your faucets all the way on and allow the water to empty. When you’re ready to turn your water back on, remember to remove the aerator, or small screen found at the end of your faucets, by unscrewing it in order to clean off any scale or foreign material that may have broken off while it was draining.
Keep in mind that shutting off your home’s main water supply is different than doing so from the street meter. You’d only have to do this is your home’s main water valve isn’t working for some reason, is in the process of being repaired, or if there’s a leak somewhere between your home’s main water valve and the street’s. Even though the majority of water companies allow access to street meters, always contact them if you do need to shut it off to be on the safe side.
You can identify street meters by their boxes with access covers. Similar to your home’s main water valve, you may need a wrench to access the street meter’s valve and turn it clockwise. This is especially true if it hasn’t been used in sometime and may be stuck.
The expert plumbers here at Raymark Plumbing & Sewer have been serving the Seattle community for nearly 40 years. After all that time, we’ve seen and done it all! You can trust us with any and all your plumbing questions and concerns. Call us today for help with your main water valve!