Unlike appliances or cars, houses don’t come with instruction manuals. Yet every home contains an electrical network, some method of heating and cooling, and a plumbing system. Because old houses are renovated all the time, and new houses integrate new technology, no two houses are the same. Whether you’re on your first house or your fifth, locating the breakers, switches, and plumbing valves is crucial.
Check your home. Can you find the water shut-off valves on this list?
Trouble In The Toilet Tank
The water shut-off valve to the toilet is positioned on the pipe that comes through the wall behind the toilet itself.
Say you want to change a toilet bowl flapper or replace the fill valve. To access these parts, you need to drain the tank. If you flush, you’ll drain the tank, but only temporarily. Twisting the toilet valve will prevent the tank from filling up after a flush.
If turning a faucet handle won’t stop water from streaming, you’ll need to shut off the water supply in order to replace the stem washer or the entire faucet. There are two valves for faucets, one for cold water and one for hot, both of which are located just under the sink. Depending on which handle leaks, you may only need to shut off one.
Water Heater Hassles
Hot water tanks have a limited lifetime. Keeping 50 to 90 gallons of water at a high temperature takes a toll on the metal parts and valves. Should your tank spring a leak, you’ll want to stop water from flowing into the tank quickly, until you can fix the leak or change the unit.
There are two pipes connected to the top of the water heater tank. One is for cold water flowing in, the other for hot water flowing out. Follow the cold water pipe a short distance until you find the water shut-off valve. If it’s a gate valve, turn it clockwise until it stops. If it’s a lever-type valve, shut it off by turning ninety degrees into a perpendicular position to the pipe.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience a catastrophic pipe break or a split in a hard-to-reach hose, but if you do, you’ll want to know where to shut off the flow of water into your home immediately.
The main water supply line usually comes into the house through the basement or lower floor. One good way to find it is to locate your water heater tank and then follow the cold water line toward one of the walls of the home (usually a street-side wall, closest to the water main lines). Where the main water line enters your home through this wall you’ll find your shut-off valve.
A few minutes of preparation can save you a whole lot of time and damage down the road. If you find that any of these valves are stuck, coated, broken, or rusting, contact your trusted plumber for a quick repair.