Where is My Water Main Shutoff Valve?

Shut-off valve

A ruptured pipe gushing hundreds of gallons of water into your house is the wrong time to begin searching for the location of your water main shutoff valve. This is info you need to know before the need arises. While some fixtures in a house have individual shutoff valves close-by to turn off water for repairs or in case of emergency, water flow throughout the entire house can only be stopped by knowing where and how to turn off the water main shutoff.

Main shutoff valves are not always in the same place in every house, which makes the finding them more difficult. We’ve listed out some likely locations to help out. Happy hunting.

  • In residential slab construction common to this region, one possible location is the spot where the main water pipe emerges from the ground and enters the front wall of the home. If not, check the vicinity of the water heater and under the kitchen sink.
  • If the home has a basement, the shutoff valve is usually located on the front basement wall nearest the street. You should be able to see where the water supply pipe enters through the basement wall or floor. The valve will typically be located within 5 feet of that spot.
  • Where there’s a crawl space instead of a basement, you’ll be delighted to know that the valve may be down under the house where the water pipe emerges from the ground. If you’re lucky, however, the valve may be inside the house where the main water line comes to the water heater or even under the kitchen sink.

What You’re Looking For

A water main shutoff valve can be a rotary-style valve—basically a larger version of an outdoor faucet—or a lever valve that operates by rotating a lever 180 degrees. Once you’ve found the shutoff valve, test it now to see if it works. Water valves that haven’t been operated for years can be notoriously difficult to turn or even impossible. Don’t wait for a major water emergency to discover that you can’t turn off the valve. If the valve seems stubborn and hard to operate, do not force it. Call a qualified plumber to have it checked out.

If you found this blog helpful, you may want to check out our post “Can You Plan for Plumbing Emergencies?”

North County Plumbing is located in Oceanside, California and has been in the service business since 1970 providing quality plumbing services including leak detection and drain service in northern San Diego County. Our qualified technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with emergency plumbing repair services…with no overtime charges!

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