Anytime there is a leaking or burst pipe inside your home, the initial step is to shut off the water supply immediately. Knowing where the shutoff valves are located can make a big difference in protecting your home from water damage in an emergency.
Round "wheel" handle valves are called Gate Valves and will stop water flow by turning the handle clockwise. It may take two or more full revolutions to completely close the valve. Level handle valves are called Ball Valves and stop water flow by turning the handle until it is perpendicular to the pipe. Ball Valves should stop at a 1/4 turn.
Use the guide below to locate water valves in your home before an emergency occurs so, when you're in a pinch, you know exactly where to go.
Typically located directly underneath the kitchen sink or the lower area of the cabinet, the kitchen shutoff valve is easy to distinguish because it is located on pipes running to the faucet. If you have a dishwasher, another valve may be located by following the additional pipe running from the sink's hot water supply, or if your home has a lower level, in the basement below the dishwasher.
The toilet valve is often obvious just beneath the tank, and depending on the placement of the bathtub and sink, there may be one or two additional shutoff valves. A sink's water shutoff valve is usually under the sink, but it may also be on the other side of the wall. If the bathtub valve is not in the sink vanity, it may be located directly underneath the tub in the basement.
Laundry Room -
Typically, the laundry room valve or valves are located above or behind the washing machine.
Water Heater -
In any circumstance that requires turning off the hot water heater alone, the shutoff valve is just above the appliance.
The Entire House
- The main water shutoff valve cuts the water supply to the entire house and is generally located in the basement or on an outside wall in a utility area of the house. This main valve is the one to stop most plumbing catastrophes and when you need to quickly shut the water off, this is the most reliable way.