There’s a famous saying that if you have a roof above your head and running water in your taps, then you’re richer than most people. While that quote hits home, it also sparks up a new question: what if you want to shut off that running water? Can you do it? How do you do it? And exactly why? It is questions like these which continue to make us more and more confused about adulthood. For the most part, most people don’t know how to use the best water shut off valve and how to shut off water to house, let alone to one specific room. And almost all of them don’t even know why they would ever want to do so.
The reasons can be as simple as to lower water consumption, get the water supply checked, or replacing it entirely, to preventing potential flooding and saving your family tons on insurance. But don’t worry too much about that. We’ve compiled a list of factors you should know about how, why, and when to shut off valves for water pipes.
In the following article, we shall discuss the various methods to shut off valve and the various reasons why you might want to use the best water shutoff valve.
How To Turn Off Water To House
Shutting Off The Main Supply
The main supply is your foremost source of water. This is usually in the form of a large water shut off valve on the main water pipeline. If you’re unsure where the main supply is, contact a plumber or ask the previous owners.
This supply can either come in from underground channels which open up into a water tower, or be distributed directly from hydrological utilities. Typically, water towers are secondary storages.
Shutting off the main supply isn’t half as hard as finding it. Many houses don’t even have a main supply water shutoff valve, and take their water from multiple secondary sources. But shut off valves for water pipes shouldn’t be that hard to find. In general, to find the main supply, follow these steps:
In most suburban and urban houses, the main water shut off valve is located at the point where the front yard meets the street. You know it’s the one because the lid or box will be solid concrete, and lifting it will reveal the water meter and valve.
Sometimes, the meter and valve are located anywhere outside the house, typically close to the exterior walls. Look around the perimeter of your house for a meter next to a shut off valve. Try removing some tall grass or plants out of the way.
Some houses have the main water supply somewhere in the basement (usually in cold weather climates). This can be harder to find if you have a lot of junk down there. Try moving some furniture or boxes and look for a shut-off valve. For future reference, keep the valve and meter completely visible and do not place any furniture in front of it.
If you can’t find it in the basement, look in the laundry room. Most aren’t too hard to find. Contact the previous owners if you’re having trouble.
How To Turn Off A Gate Type Valve
A gate type valve is the circular one that looks like a mini wheel either covered with rubber or strengthened with steel. This valve shouldn’t be too hard to turn off. Usually, either the markings on the valve itself or the pipe it is connected to will direct you on how to turn off the valve. Generally, turning clockwise turns the valve off. Remember the following phrase: “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey”. Of course, “loosening” the valve refers to turning it on and “tightening” it means turning it off.
How To Turn Off A Ball Type Valve
A ball type valve has a flat handle that can either be pulled down or pushed up. Turning off this valve is also very easy. The valve is off when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, and it is on when the handle is parallel to the pipe. Keeping this in mind, turn the handle around to turn the main water supply off.
Note: In some houses, there will be two valves next to the meter. Turning off any one will be sufficient. However, it is recommended that the one which is closer to the house is turned off.
Shutting Off Supply To Different Rooms
Usually, only the laundry room, the kitchen, and the bathrooms use water, along with the front or back yard’s hose and sprinklers (if any). Mostly you have to turn off the supplies individually. If you’re wondering how to turn off water to toilet and other utilities, read on.
In The Bathroom
If your house has a separate cut-off valve for the bathroom, merely turn that off. If not, turn off the utilities in the bathroom separately.
Shut off the supply to the toilet by looking for the water shut off valve for the toilet (usually oval-shaped knobs) and turning them clockwise. This should stop the water from entering the cistern of the toilet. The knobs can be turned by hand and do not require a water shut off tool.
Find similar oval-shaped knobs under the sink and turn them clockwise to shut them off completely.
The shower or bathtub can be a bit tricky. If yours has a showerhead shut off valve like in the sink or the toilet, then use that. otherwise just turns the faucets off.If you’re wondering should I turn off water heater if water is off, then it is better to switch off the water heater as well.
In The Kitchen
In the kitchen, mostly the sink will take up the water. This sink usually has the same type of valves as the ones in the bathroom, typically inside a cabinet under the sink. Turn the valve clockwise to turn off the supply.
In The Garden
Usually, just turning off the hose does the job. Most hoses are directly connected to the main supply and don’t require any secondary valves.
If you have sprinklers in your house, the shut-off valve for that should be close by. It usually looks like a pipe jutting out of the ground only to go back into the ground without passing through any utilities. Turn it clockwise to shut off the supply completely.
Why Should You Turn Off The Main/Secondary Water Supply Valves?
While cutting off your only water supply may seem ridiculous, sometimes it’s your only option.Sometimes, you might want to turn it off for some plumbing and repair work. Maybe you’ve decided that you want a private supply instead of using the city’s. Maybe you’ve noticed a leak and think that it’s best to shut everything off before it starts flooding. Or perhaps your kids are just wasting too much water. Whatever the reason, we think that depriving your house of water for a short time may be crucial.
Here’s why you might want to avoid keeping your supply on forever.
To Prevent Flooding
If you have recently noticed a pipeline leaking water, or if your valves have suddenly burst open, you might want to shut off the main supply. You see, flooding can actually begin right from your own house.
Recently, the industry has developed automatic sensors that detect leakages. These work by using a water sensor to detect even the slightest moisture. Once the water is detected, the device will send an alert to your phone or simply ring an alarm. Naturally, the smarter ones have auto water shut off valves, but if you don’t have that type of money, then you might have to manually shut the system off.
If you are unable to shut off the supply before the flooding starts, then shutting it off afterward can be your next best option. Be sure you are well acquainted and familiar with the valves to operate the shut-off.
To Stop Wastage
Suppose your kids keep on turning the taps open or leave the shower running. Of course, who can stop kids from having their fun? But if you want to lower the amount of water wastage, turning off the water supply to the sinks or the bathtubs/showers can be your best option. This way, no excess water will be used, and you can easily turn the water on whenever you need it.
As a general idea, turning off the supply during the night will be a smart choice, as most people don’t use the water during that time and you will cut down on any potential leaks or overnight flooding. If the water bill was too high last time, and you want to be extra frugal, then manually turning off the valves will remind you that the water you use should be used scarcely.
To Get A Separate/Private Supply
If the city’s rates are too high and you’ve decided on getting your own private supply, then you might want to shut off the main supply first. A private supply means that the water isn’t provided by the city or undertaker, and is rather supplied from local water bodies or dams. Usually, only those living in rural or remote areas opt for a private supply. If you plan on getting a private connection, then you should start by cutting off the main water supply. Make sure that the water you use is completely safe and healthy to drink and use, as many private supplies are contaminated.
For Repair Work and Maintenance
Of course, the number one reason why you would want to temporarily shut off your supply is maintenance. Having a plumber come over to work only to have hot water jutting into his face can be pretty embarrassing. Usually, if you call over a plumber, he or she will cut off the individual supply him/herself. But if you’re doing the job yourself, then knowing how to turn off hot water heater and the main supply shut off valve can be crucial. It can also come in handy when you’ve noticed corroding pipes or clogged up valves and want to get some maintenance done.
In Case of Threat
If the water entering the house has become contaminated somehow, then shutting off the main supply can actually prevent some hazards. Turn off water to house if you feel that the danger is too threatening.
Water can get contaminated in a number of ways. For one thing, the pipes can be made of pretty corrosive metals, and if the metal chips off, it can release itself into the water you use and drink. And if the metal is dangerous, such as iron or rust, then the risk doubles.
Similarly, if your water has been contaminated with some bacteria or say the local sewer line, then the water is rendered unsuitable for use. In instances like these, you might want to get the supply checked by a professional. Shutting the main supply off can help prevent any further damage, while you get someone to help you out with the situation.
To Install Cleaning/Leak Detection Systems
Installing sanitation and leak detection systems can require that you cut off the water supply. Most water is already sanitized and distilled when it comes to your house. But in cases where the city does not do that job, getting a sanitation filter is your next best option. Or say that your local supply has a lot of sedimentary deposits and the undertakers aren’t doing anything about it. Having your own clean water can even be a miracle for some people who have a private connection.
Leak detectors usually don’t require too much hard work, but some need to be installed directly into your main pipeline. Having a decent sensor can be extremely helpful, as even the tiniest leak can result in major flooding and water loss. It is estimated that over 20 gallons can be lost by a water network that has a minor leak. So installing a detector is your best choice.
If you want to shut off your main supply, all you got to do is locate the main pipeline and the water meter, and turn the valve to completely shut it off. Now that you know how to shut off water to house, remember that water is crucial and should only be cut off in emergency situations, such as when your water gets contaminated or when there’s a leak. You can find the best shutoff valve by reading water shutoff valve reviews.
But don’t forget to drink healthy, and make sure that your water is always clean. A flooding isn’t even half as bad as a tummy ache!