How to Find Your Main Water Shutoff Valve

June 12, 2018

If you don’t know where your home’s main water shutoff valve is located, you are not alone—in fact, many people don’t wonder where it is until an emergency plumbing situation arises and a plumber points it out for them. The truth is, you need to know where the main water valve is located so you can turn it off in the event of a serious leak to prevent water damage to your home and avoid costly plumbing repairs. Let’s ask a residential plumber in Vacaville, CA where to find the main water shutoff valve on most homes:

  • Most residential water shutoff valves are located somewhere along or near the perimeter of the house. Shutoff valves are placed on the ground floor, or down in the basement if you have one, so it’s not likely to be near the central sections of the house. Nor will it be located upstairs.
  • You can find your water shutoff valve by locating the water main. Your home’s water lines usually run from the water main to the shutoff without additional piping, so if you know where your water main is located, you may be able to find the valve. Go to your water main, then follow the shortest path to your house—there’s a good chance you’ll find the shutoff valve pretty quickly.
  • Hang on to your home inspection report after buying a house. The location of your water main and water shutoff valve should be noted in the final report. Keep this information on file for reference.
  • Some homes have a second big panel that is not for electrical switches—this panel may house the water shutoff valve.

Indoor plumbing fixture shutoff valves

It’s a good idea to figure out if your home’s plumbing fixtures—such as toilets, sinks and washing machines—have their own built-in water shutoff valves. Search for them before you actually need to turn them off. Take these steps instead of running to turn off the main water shutoff valve:

  • Sinks: Look in the cabinet underneath the sink. You should see a small shutoff valve. If the faucet or a pipe is leaking, reach down and turn the valve handle clockwise to stop the flow of water through the sink’s pipes.
  • Toilets: Bend down next to the side of the toilet where you see a small valve on the wall—this valve looks similar to the ones underneath sinks. It’s typically located below the bowl. Turn it gently clockwise to close off the flow of water.
  • Washing machines: Every washing machine should have two valves or levers on the back panel. In the event that the valves are not visible, you may have to pull the washer forward. If it has valves, turn them clockwise. If it has levers, switch them back the other way. This should turn off the water.

If you find yourself in an emergency plumbing situation, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber in Vacaville, CA, like the pros at ABC Plumbing. We are here to help 24/7!

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