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How do I Shut Off the Water Supply to My home?


If you ever find yourself in the middle of a water emergency, where a pipe has burst or leaking profoundly, you will need to know how to shut off your water source. Knowing where to go in your home to shut off your home’s main water supply and how to shut off this supply is as important as knowing how to reset or turn on/off an electric breaker or replace a fuse. All homes are required to have a main water shut-off valve installed inside the home during initial construction for purposes of shutting off the water to the home when needed. For most emergencies or repairs, shutting-off the water valve will be essential to minimizing any possible damage. (I do believe there is no such thing as having too many shut-offs in your home.) There are also underground shut-off valves installed at the property line; if shutting-off this valve is necessary due to not being able to shut off water inside of the home, it is important to call your Omaha plumber who will be able to access and shut off this valve.

Your main shut off valve may be in one of four locations based on the design of your home.

A. Basement – If the shut-off valve is located in the basement, it is typically located near the front foundation wall. The main water source may come through the concrete floor or through the wall. The valve is typically within 3-5 feet of where the main water source enters the home. In some cases, the main water source may enter in a different area, like a utility or mechanical room, it may run up through the floor, or could be near the water heater or furnace.

B. Crawl-space plus a basement – The shut-off valve may be where the water enters the basement or in some older homes, the shut-off may be inside the crawl space. If the latter is true, you should consider a secondary valve located in the basement for easier access in case of emergency. Again, you can never have too many shut off valves.

C. Crawl-space with no basement – If the home only has a crawl space and no basement, the shut off valve will typically be located near the water heater or under the kitchen sink, but anywhere is possible. As with the crawl space and basement mentioned above, it may be inside the crawl-space; in which case, you should consider a secondary valve located up in the living space (near the water heater or under a sink).

D. Slab-on-grade construction – If the home has no basement or crawl space, the shut-off valve will typically be located near the water heater or under the kitchen sink, but anywhere is possible. Be sure to look at the homes blueprint to locate if you are unable to.

Now that you are able to locate the shut off valve, it is important to know how to operate the various shut-off valves that may be found in your home.

A. A round handle or wheel valve will turn-off by turning the handle to the right (clockwise). It may take 2 or more full revolutions to fully shut off the water supply.

B. Angle stop will need to be turned clockwise until they stop. Some are 1/4 turn, some are 3/4 turn, and some are a full turn(s) like your toilet shut off valve.

Remember: If you are shutting off water it is always good practice to open valves by turning faucet on to relieve pressure.

If you have questions regarding locating or shutting off your water supply lines in your home, please give your Licensed Omaha Plumbers at American Rooter Plumbing a call today.

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