While no one likes to think about the potential catastrophes that could happen in their house, it does pay to be prepared. This is especially true when it comes to your plumbing. It is an incredibly important part of your house and it can go wrong in so many ways. This is why yearly maintenance and inspections are so important, but it is also important to understand your plumbing systems and have a rudimentary knowledge of basic repairs. While you don’t need to know how to completely replace a leaky pipe, you do need to know how to turn off the water (and limit the damage) if a pipe bursts. Read on for a quick primer on locating and turning off your main water valve.
What Is It?
The main water valve is the shut-off for all of the water coming into your house. Most plumbing systems will also have isolation valves before major fixtures or appliances, but the main valve is at the very beginning of your system and it controls the flow of all of the water.
Where Is It?
Since it is at the start of the system, the main water valve will usually be close to where the pipes enter your home. If you have a basement, it will be on the front interior wall, on the pipes that are entering the foundation from the direction of the street (and the main water lines and sewers). If you don’t have a basement, check for this valve near the water heater or in the garage. If you truly can’t find the shut-off in your home, you may have to check out at the meter. In the meter box (yes, out at the curb), there is also a shut-off valve. You may need a special meter key to open the meter box (check your local hardware store).
How Do You Turn It Off?
There are two types of valves used for main water valves: a ball valve or a gate valve. A gate valve is a type you’ve likely seen in most instances: it has a metal wheel and you turn the wheel to open or close the valve (gate valves are sometimes called wheel valves for this reason). If you want to close the valve, turn in clockwise. Never use a tool for this. Always use your hands – if it is too rusted or damaged to hand turn, have a plumber come out to repair it. A ball valve looks like a handle instead of a wheel. To turn off this type of valve, turn it perpendicular to the pipe that it is on. Again, if it is damaged or rusted and you can’t turn it by hand, call a plumber.
Call Mahon Plumbing Today
If you still have more questions regarding your plumbing, we here at Mahon Plumbing are here to help. We have been serving the wider Baltimore area since 1994, so we have 25 years of experience to back up our fantastic service! Call us at our Baltimore location at 410-766-8566 or our Pasadena location at 410-636-7944. Be sure to keep up with us on social media by following us on Facebook or Twitter.