If a water supply line inside your home ruptures, knowing the location of your main water shut-off valve can make the difference between an annoying mess to clean up and catastrophic household damage that requires professional water damage recovery services. A broken 1/4-inch water line typically installed in residences can gush up to 50 gallons of water per minute into your home until somebody shuts off the main water valve. If you have to wait for a plumber to arrive to do it, you can easily have several thousand gallons of water flooding the premises. Every adult in the home should be aware of the location of the water shut-off valve and how to operate it.
In Warm Climates
The valve is typically located outside at ground level at the point where the main water supply line enters the house through the foundation. It is usually a red, gate-style valve — a rotary valve similar to an outdoor faucet, only larger — that is closed by rotating it clockwise. This will shut off water flow to all pipes and fixtures inside the house.
In Cold Climates
The valve may be found indoors where the cold water pipe emerges through the foundation wall into the basement. It's usually a red, gate-style valve closed by turning clockwise. Alternatively, the shut-off valve may be located in the main cold water line just before the water heater.
An additional shut-off is usually located at the water meter, which is typically in a concrete box embedded in the ground out near the street. This master valve turns off water to all the property — including the entire house but also outdoor pipes such as lawn sprinklers, swimming pools, etc. Depending on the type, some water meter valves may require a certain tool to operate the valve.
Just to Be Sure"
Once a year, test your shut-off valve to verify that it turns freely. If it doesn't, don't force it. Call a plumber to handle the issue.
Ask the water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc. for more information if you're unable to locate your water shut-off valve.