The Definitive Guide to Your Water Shut-Off Valve

Water Shut-Off Valve

Burst pipes and water leaks from appliances and fixtures can rapidly result in thousands of dollars in water damage to your home – and a sky high water bill. Quick action is key, before repair needs turn your home into a money pit. How can you prevent water damage headaches? It all starts with a little 4-1-1 on the water shut-off valves throughout your home.

Valves – As In More than One?

There are several water shut-off valves around your home, allowing you to cut off water flow at the source before problems become titanic. Waiting until you need to break out flotation devices to find them is a bad idea. It is extremely important for you and everyone in your home to know where your home’s water shut-off valves are and how to use them BEFORE disaster occurs.

There Are a Variety of Water Shut-Off Valves Servicing your Home:

  • Toilets

These valves top the “most commonly used” list, and are nearly always located in the open right under the toilet tank. Look for the oval-shaped valve knob.

  • Sinks

Sink valves are typically located just under the sink, toward the rear and near the bottom of the cabinet.

  • Washer

Washer shut-off valves are typically just behind or above the washer, with one each for hot and cold supply lines.

  • Dishwasher/Refrigerator

Refrigerators with water dispensers and icemakers as well as dishwashers SHOULD also have a water shut-off valve, but some may not. For dishwashers, look for a second valve on the hot water supply line (the one under your kitchen sink) that has a horizontal pipe leading away from it. For refrigerators, it’s usually located at the wall at the back of the refrigerator – sometimes hidden in a panel. Valves MIA? Check the attic/basement ceiling directly above/below the appliance.

  • Water Heater

Locate the water shut-off valve a few inches above the top of the heater.

  • Main Water Shut-off Valve

Your main water shut-off valve may be located in several places:

  • Basement & Crawlspace

The water shut-off valve will typically be located on a wall near the front of the house.

  • Slab Foundation

Look for the valve near the water heater or in the garage, where water lines enter your home.  

  • Water Meter

If you can’t find the water shut-off valve in those locations, check outside near the street in your water meet box – that covered box buried in the ground. If you still can’t find it, it’s time to enlist a professional.     

Ok, I Found the Valve. Now What?

Once you located the valve, use your hands or the appropriate tool to turn off the water supply. This will depend upon the type of valve.

  • Valves with a Handle
    • Simply grab the handle and turn the valve clockwise to stop water flow into your home.
  • Valves with a Knob
    • Twist knob to the right to cut off supply.
  • Main Water Shut-Off Valve
    • Sometimes main water shut-off valves require a “meter key.” You can purchase one at your local home improvement store, or use a crescent wrench and a screwdriver. Secure either the meter key or the wrench on the valve, and then turn it clockwise to stop the flow of water. If you turn off your main line, you’ll also need to go back into your home and release pressure from the pipes by running both your cold and hot water lines until water no longer runs.

Does finding your water shut-off valve have you feeling like Indiana Jones? Rainbow Restoration® can help you through all your misadventures. Contact us today.


For Further Reading:

How to Prevent and Handle a Flooded Basement

Prevent a Flood: Check Your Toilets and Sinks

Prevent a Flood: Check Your Dishwasher

Prevent a Flood: Check Your Water Heater

water shut-off valve