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How to Locate the Main Water Shut-Off Valve

Emergency plumbing visits can be expensive. You not only pay for the expense of the fix, but you’ll also be shelling out extra for the off-hours or emergency visit. Avoid hefty plumbing bills by taking proactive care of your home’s plumbing system.

Know where to find the emergency water shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing mishap from becoming a plumbing emergency. 

Why Locate the Water Shut-off Valve?

Why should you know where the emergency water shut-off valve?

Like knowing where to find the electric breaker, you need to know where your main water supply shut-off is in case of a plumbing emergency like an overflowing toilet.

In the event that your home has a burst pipe or other emergency, your main supply shut-off valve is your best line of defense. If you don’t know where your shut-off valve is, your home is at risk for severe water damage.

How to Locate the Main Water Shut-Off Valve

Locating your shut-off valve

There is no one easy or fast answer to the question, “where is my emergency water shut-off valve?” The location of your shut-off valve will largely depend on the arrangement of your plumbing, what type of home you live in, and when your home was built.

The best option for finding your shut-off valve is to physically search for it around your home. The valve may be located inside or outside of your home, but there are a few common locations for the valve that you could check first.

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Check the basement

Shut-off valves are frequently located in the basement about 3-5 feet from where the main water enters the front foundation wall. Also, check near the mechanical room or near other large appliances like your water heater or furnace.

In the Crawl Space

If you have a crawl space, the shut-off valve may be located there near the water heater or under the kitchen sink.

Outside the home

If your shut-off valve isn’t in the basement, crawl space, or mechanical room, you should consider checking outside of your home. The valve could be underground in a “pit” or near the property line.

Choosing from multiple valves

Some homes, especially newer homes or ones with a fire sprinkler system, may have more than one valve. Be sure to close the valve that is “downstream” from the fire sprinkler.

Homes without fire sprinklers, typically only have one valve.

Closing the Valve

The most important thing about closing the main valve is ensuring that the valve is completely shut.

  • Round “wheel” handles – turn the handle clockwise for or more full turns
  • Level handle valves – ¼ turn until the handle is not parallel to the pipe

After closing the valve, open a faucet on the other side of the house to ensure that the pressure is released and the pipes are empty.

Shut off electric water heaters and boilers when the main water is off. Also, ensure to shut off the gas and turn the thermostat down.

Call an Emergency Plumber

If you are unsure where the water shut-off valve is in your home, or if you are unsure how to turn the main water off for your home, consult a professional plumber. Charles Moon Plumbing offers expert plumbing services including emergency assistance. Call (302) 732-3555 today to schedule a plumbing appointment. Or contact Charles Moon for more information.

Water Shut-Off Valve


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