Do you know one of the easiest ways to avoid water damage? It’s being able to turn off the water in your house! It’s a minor thing that could save you a lot of time and money.
When you go out of town for an extended period, turning off the water can prevent potential water damage and give you peace of mind while you’re away. And when you’ve got a leak, being able to cut off the water source is the first step in assessing and minimizing damage.
To shut off your system’s water supply:
- First, locate the main shut off valve. You’ll most likely find this in your home’s basement, garage, crawl space, or the external wall where the main water line enters the house [1, 2].
- Once you have located the valve, turn it clockwise to shut off your water. If you have a ball valve (it looks like a lever), turn it 90 degrees from its starting position. If it’s a circular valve (called a gate valve), turn it clockwise until it won’t go any further. 
- If the valve won’t turn, stop pushing and call a plumber. Forcing the valve may cause the pipe to crack, burst, or leak. A plumber will be able to fix or replace the valve for you without damaging the pipes. 
- After you’ve turned off the valve, turn on one faucet on the lowest level of your home in order to clear water out of the pipes. 
If you have problems turning off your water, or are experiencing water damage, call us at: (918) 584-3737
If you just need to turn off water to a specific fixture (sink, refrigerator, toilets, etc.), look for its shut off valve on the wall behind it and turn it clockwise . If your sink has a single handle, you’ll need to turn off the valves for both the hot and cold water. 
If the main shut off valve is located in the water meter box near the street, use a meter key to turn off the valve closest to the house. 
If you can’t find the main shut off valve, don’t panic. Here are some things you can try:
- Search along the perimeter of your home, as the valve’s location depends on your home’s foundation.
- Look outside under any visible metal cover.
- Walk out to your front yard or sidewalk and look for a panel that is flush with the ground. You may need a wrench or meter key to open this panel, but your shut off valve is almost certainly inside.
- Check outside near an external faucet. .
You can also check the plumbing section of your home inspection report that you should have received when you purchased your home. This section should locate the shut-off valve and have a photo of the valve .
If you can’t locate the valve and you’ve got a serious leak, call a plumber or emergency service like Burggraf for help.
To turn the water back on after shutting it off, follow these steps:
- Before you turn the water back on, open one faucet on the lowest floor of your house. This will help clear out any air trapped in the pipes. 
- Return to the valve where you shut the water off, and turn it counterclockwise. Just as when you turned it off, if it’s a ball valve, you’ll turn it 90 degrees counterclockwise from the closed position, and if it’s a gate valve, you’ll turn the handle counterclockwise until it stops.
- Let your open faucet run for about 5-10 minutes before you turn it off. 
Here are some additional ways to prevent water damage in your home while you are away:
- Check the supply lines on your appliances for leaks, and upgrade to stainless steel if you’ve got plastic lines.
- Inspect your appliances and fixtures for any signs of damage: cracks, weird noises, you name it. You could save yourself a huge headache if you find an issue before you leave town.
- Examine windows and doors for any gaps or cracks, especially if rough weather is in the forecast for while you’re away.
- Make sure your gutters have been cleared of debris.
- Test your sump pump to make sure it is working properly.
- Leave your HVAC system running to help control humidity levels.
- Invest in a smart leak detector. These gadgets can sense when a leak starts and give you an early alert, and some versions can even shut off your water to prevent additional water damage. They can be kind of pricey, but are worth looking into! 
And there you have it! Knowing how to turn the water off at the house level is basic knowledge for every homeowner. And it’s a good idea to locate your main valve before you have an emergency, so that you don’t waste valuable time hunting for it while water is gushing into your house.
Dealing with water damage? Call the best for help.
If you’re dealing with water damage–whether it’s from a burst pipe, a leaky toilet, a damaged fixture, or anything else–give Burggraf Disaster Restoration a call at (918) 584-3737. We’ll help you get cleaned up quickly.
Sources & Helpful Links
- Plumbingsniper.com – How to Quickly Turn off Water
- Hometips.com – How to Turn Off the Water to Your House or a Single Fixture
- Wikihow – 5 Ways to Turn Water Back On
- ProSkill Services on YouTube – Two methods to turn off your home’s water supply
- angi.com- How Do I Find My Water Shut-Off Valve?
- Thespruce.com – How to Find Your Home’s Main Water Shut-Off Valve
- BobVila.com – How to Turn Off Water to Your House
- Angi.com – 9 Ways to Prevent Water Damage In Your Home While You Are Away