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How to Turn Off the Water to your House

Posted on August 21, 2013

In the event of a huge leak or burst pipe every home owner should know how to turn off the water to their house.  The shut-off valve to the main water supply will be in an unfinished part of the basement.  If you don’t have a basement, look in the utility closet or in the crawl space.

A handle valve will run parallel with the pipe.  To close the pipe or turn off the water supply, turn the handle perpendicular to the pipe.  Parallel = Open Water Pipe.  Perpendicular = Closed Water Pipe.

Some homes will have a round handle valve.  Turn the round handle valve clockwise (as you face the valve) to close the pipe or turn off the water supply.  Your round handle valve may be up-side-down.  If the valve is up-side-down as you face it, turn it counter clockwise to close the main water supply.

Your home may have one or both.  Closing either valve will shut off the main water supply.

One more thing:  Once the main water valve is closed the leak will not stop immediately, because there is still water in the lines under pressure.  So, immediately after closing the main water valve, go to the nearest faucet and turn it on.  Water will run for a few seconds and then drip to a stop.  This will not empty all the pipes of water, but it will relieve the pressure in the pipes and halt the leak.

It is important to learn how to do this now, before the crisis strikes, and to educate the other members of your household.  Now, in the event of a big leak you will know exactly how to stop the water flow.

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