Where is the Water Shut-off Valve in a House?

home water shutoff valve

It’s important to know where your main water shut-off valve is in case of an emergency. Hopefully, you’re not reading this while your bathroom fills up with water. (Scroll down if you are.) If a pipe bursts or a toilet overflows, shutting off the water can significantly reduce water damage. Some homeowners shut off their water as a precaution as well, such as when they leave town or are replacing a faucet.

The locations of your water shut-off valves vary depending on your geographical location, water source and type of residence. Unfortunately, shut-off valves aren’t always obvious. Grab a flashlight, and use the tips below to locate your water shut-off valves.

How to Find Water Shut-off Valves

There are usually multiple shut-off valves in a house – one for each of your appliances that uses water and a main shut-off valve for the entire house. You can usually find shut-off knobs for your toilet, sink or washing machine behind the units or under the sink. If your toilet is about to overflow, don’t waste time by running around looking for the main water shut-off valve – simply turn the water shut-off knob behind the toilet. (Turn it to the right!)

Well Water (Main) Shut-off Valve

Wells usually have two main shut-off valves: There is a valve that goes from the well to the pressure tank and another valve from the pressure tank to your plumbing. Shut-off both valves if you’re worried about your pipes freezing. Otherwise, shut-off whichever valve is most convenient for you.

Pressure tanks may be in the basement, garage or closet. To find the pressure tank shut-off valve, look for a valve or knob near the tank. The shut-off valve is usually connected to the same pipe that has the pressure gauge on it.

The well is usually located near the pressure tank but may be outside in a small well house or elsewhere. The well shut-off valve should be near the well or even in a small utility box buried in the ground near the well. If you see multiple valves, only turn one at a time, and then check a faucet to see if it worked. Once you’ve found the right valve, mark it with a ribbon for future reference. You may also trip the circuit breaker to the well to temporarily deactivate the well pump.

City Water (Main) Shut-off Valve

In colder climates this valve is usually located in your home’s utility room, along with the furnace or water heater. The main shut-off valve should be on the largest water pipe in this area. Look for any pipes that lead directly out of the foundation toward the street.

In warm climates you may find the shut-off valve in a plastic or concrete utility box in the ground toward the front of your house, near the street. The valve may be covered in dirt if it hasn’t been used in a while. It’s best to remove this dirt now before you have an emergency.

Still can’t find the valve? Don’t worry. Next time you hire a plumber, they’ll be happy to point it out.

Pro tip: If the water has been off for a long time, open all the faucets in your home before turning the main water shut-off valve back on. In some cases, the surge of water in empty pipes may damage plumbing or faucets.

Did You Find the Shut-off Valve Too Late?

If the damage has been done, Rainbow Restoration can help. We know how hard it is to see your home and your belongings destroyed by water. The good news is our team of experts will remove all moisture and standing water to restore your home to pre-loss condition. Our residential water damage restoration services are IICRC certified. We can even restore your water-damaged belongings with our content pack-out services. Let us start restoring your home – just call 855-724-6269, or schedule an appointment online.

Once you’ve found the shut-off valve, now may be a good time to have your plumbing inspected by a professional, especially if you notice anything out of the ordinary. If your home is on a well and you notice low water pressure or a constantly running well pump, you may need a new pump.