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By Platinum Team April 9, 2023

Avoid major damage with these plumbing valve basics…

Ask anyone who’s been there – a forceful leak is a nightmare. No, “nightmare” isn’t too strong of a word! If you’ve ever experienced water damage, you know how quickly the problem can get out of hand. 

It’s SO helpful to know how to shut off your water in an emergency.  If you ask us, these plumbing valve basics should be taught to every single homeowner when they purchase a home. It can seem like annoying, superfluous information if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a water emergency in your home. But it can save hundreds or thousands of dollars when problems pop up down the line. We wish “thousands” was an exaggeration, but it ain’t one 😬.

Check those shut off valves on a regular basis.

The biggest tip we can offer you – regularly check the shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture to make sure it functions properly. In an emergency, you need that valve to be able to shut off no problemo.

It’s great to do this monthly or quarterly. All you need to do is – turn the valve from the open position to the off position, then back again. 

Another subtle trick that can be beneficial is – whenever you open any valve, open it all the way then turn it back the other direction slightly. This will help prevent it from sticking in the open position. 

Here’s where to find all those plumbing valves…

Bathroom Sink Shutoff Valves

Bathroom valves usually are below the fixture for easy access. Using a wrench, turn this valve clockwise until it stops for complete shutoff.

Kitchen Sink Shutoff Valves

Below your kitchen sink you will probably find shutoff valves for both the hot and cold water. In some cases, the valves will be below the kitchen in the basement. Sometimes valves are installed both below the sink and also in the basement.

Toilet Shutoff Valves

Your toilet shutoff valve is commonly located on the back wall, approximately 6” above the ground, on the left side as you face the toilet. To turn off this valve in the event of a leak or repair, turn the valve clockwise until it stops.

Main Water Shutoff Valves

The main water line coming in from the street is often connected to the water meter followed by a master shutoff valve for the entire home. When you close this single valve, you shut off water throughout the house. It’s instant action for serious emergencies. 

If you need to shut off the water at the main valve, make sure the hot water tank is turned down to pilot. Electric hot water tanks require special attention, and it is best to enlist the aid of a plumbing and heating professional. However, if the emergency calls for the main water system to be shut off, the electric water system must also be shut off. The electric can be shut off at the main electrical fuse box by either removing the fuse from the box or switching the breaker to an “off “position. (Check and see if your breakers are labeled.) The electricity to the hot water tank should not be turned on until the water tank has been refilled with water–see the owner’s manual that comes with the electric hot water heater. To turn off this valve, turn the handle clockwise until it stops.

Ask a technician for more specific details.

If you want even greater clarity about what to do in the event of a plumbing emergency, ask a technician when you already have them at your property. For instance – while they are there fixing your garbage disposal, ask them to point out the shutoff valve for your sink and supervise while you test it. It’s a small step that can bring extra peace of mind. 


Need help with plumbing issues?

Whether you have a question, need service or want to upgrade your existing system, we’re here to support you! Reach out to us at 602.733.5000.