The main water valve is essential because it can shut-off the water that is supplied to your home. This is crucial, because if you are in a plumbing emergency, the last thing you need is more incoming water, which will simply exacerbate your problems. Locating the main water valve is not something that you want to do in the middle of an emergency situation. When you are under pressure, it’s easy to panic and this makes the situation much harder to deal with efficiently. In this article, we will show you how to locate the main water valve to ensure that you are ready if a plumbing emergency occurs.
The Importance of the Main Water Valve
Every modern home should have a maine water valve installed. When localized flooding occurs from a burst pipe or a leaking appliance, it can be alarming. Taking action now can mitigate a great deal of water damage that’s expensive to fix. Before you call a local professional plumber or attempt any kind of DIY repair, it’s important to stop the flow of water first. Once you’ve located the main water valve, it’s important to share this information with everyone living in the home. Then you can be assured that the water can be shut-off quickly by others in an emergency.
The Usual Main Water Valve Locations
When you purchase a home, you should receive a home inspection report that should list the locations of the main water valve. If you’re a renter or you’ve misplaced this report, don’t worry because you can locate the valve without it. Go outside and take a look around the perimeter of the structure and you may find the valve easily. The valve will always be located at ground level in a lower pit around the property line.
Another common location is in the basement or crawl space if you have one in your home. The main water valve is often found on the foundation wall. But, if you live in an older home, the valve may be positioned in a crawl space. In this instance, the valve can be tricky to access quickly during a plumbing emergency. For this reason, we recommend the installation of a secondary main water valve in an easier to reach location. Contact your local professional plumber and they can install a secondary valve in the basement if you’re worried about this problem.
How to Shut-Off the Main Water Valve Correctly
The main water valve looks like a round wheel, the handle should be turned clockwise to shut-off the incoming water and anti-clockwise to turn it on again. To avoid confusion in an emergency situation, you can put this information on a sign nearby. It typically takes a couple or more full handle rotations to shut-off the water supply to your home. The valve handle should then be turned at a quarter run position, which is not parallel with the connected pipe. This will ensure that the incoming water is fully shut-off and you can test this by opening a sink faucet. At first, the tap will release water that is already inside the plumbing pipe and then the water should stop. This will also relieve any water pressure that exists inside the pipe and you can do this throughout the home. This will drain the system fully, which can be useful if you’re preparing a home for a lengthy period of non-occupancy. But, if you drain the system, turn off the boiler, and the water heater and gas-powered units should be adjusted to a pilot-only setting.
Adopting a Proactive Approach
Now that you know how to locate and use the main water valve, you have taken the first steps in adopting a proactive approach to potential plumbing system problems. It’s a good idea to check the main water valve every month to ensure that it’s moving smoothly. These plumbing fixtures can become stiff and hard to move because they are not used frequently. If you notice that the valve isn’t moving, it’s important to contact your local professional plumber and get them to check it out for you.
Another important thing to consider is the presence of water leaks in your home. Even a smaller water leak can release a large volume of water, which can lead to significant damage. Our homes are supplied with water from a large network of interconnected plumbing pipes and many of them are hidden from view. For this reason, it can be tricky to locate a less obvious water leak, but many leaks can be spotted if you know what to look out for. If you notice circular water stains on ceilings or walls, this is typically caused by a leaking pipe or fixture. Evidence of mold growth on walls or puddles of water under appliances are other warning signs. In extreme cases, you may even notice warped or cracked floors and unstable surfaces around the toilet and other fixtures. Ignoring water leaks is not an option because they get worse over time which leads to a more expensive repair bill.
The best way to check for water leaks is to keep a close eye on your utility bills. If they rise dramatically, it could be a sign that a recent water leak has occurred. A gradual rise may indicate a smaller water leak that is becoming more serious. You can check this for yourself by turning off every appliance and fixture and taking a water meter reading. Make sure no water is used for an hour and then take a second reading. If you are using water with no appliances or fixtures in use, then you have a hidden water leak. At this stage, you will also know the volume of water that is being wasted each and every hour.
It makes good sense to locate and learn how to shut-off your main water valve for emergencies. If you already have water leaks in your home, they can cause damage and they will become more serious. You can mitigate the risk of flooding by fixing these issues earlier to prevent burst pipes. Contact your local licensed and certified plumber for a plumbing health check today.