Plumbing Fix #1: How to Shut Off the Water
At the top of every homeowner’s DIY plumbing list is knowing how to turn the water on and off to your house as well as the individual plumbing fixtures in it. Turning off the water is the first step in stopping a leak or making other plumbing repairs, so it’s important locate the main water shutoff valve to your home now before you need it.
Turning Off All the Water in Your House
To turn off all the water to your house, locate the main water shutoff valve, which is usually found at the water meter. Most water meters are buried in the ground near the street and have a concrete cover, though some may be mounted on the side of the house.
If you can’t find the water meter, call your local utility company and ask for help locating it. Once you’ve found the meter, remove the cover, and turn the shutoff valve 90 degrees with a water meter cutoff key to turn off all the water in your house. In a pinch you may be able to turn the valve with an adjustable wrench if you can’t find a cutoff key.
Some houses may also have a secondary main shutoff valve located in the basement or where the water main enters the house that can be used to turn off all the water in your home.
Read our article on How to Check a Water Meter to find out more.
Turning Off the Water at Plumbing Fixtures
In many cases you don’t have to turn off all the water to the house to repair a plumbing fixture, such as a sink faucet or toilet. Instead, you can close the shutoff valve located below the fixture by turning it clockwise to turn off the water to just that fixture.
Bathtubs and showers may not have shutoff valves, and if they do they can be harder to find. Look for access in the wall or closet that backs up to the tub or shower to see if the water lines have shutoff valves. If a plumbing fixture doesn’t have a shutoff valve, you’ll need to turn off all the water to the house before repairing it.