How to Turn Water Off in a Plumbing Emergency

When a pipe bursts, your first instinct is most likely to pick up the phone and call an emergency plumber. Before you do that you need to turn the water off to minimize the damage to your home. Not surprisingly, many homeowners do not know how to do this.

At Rooter Hero Plumbing, we believe education is key to preventing major plumbing disasters. While you may not be able to thwart a busted pipe, you can stop water from ruining your flooring, walls, and household items. Taking a moment to read the emergency plumbing solutions for turning water off can save you frustration and a lot of money in repair expenses.

Appliance and Fixture Shut-Off Valves

Where you need to go to turn the water off depends on where the leak is occurring. Leaks that originate from plumbing fixtures or appliances require very little effort from homeowners to stop. Here is a quick reference to help you locate the water shut-off valve for various situations.

  • Sinks: The majority of sinks have their water shut-off valve located below the p-trap in the cabinet under the sink.
  • Dishwashers: Shut-off valve is located under the kitchen sink adjacent to the dishwasher.
  • Ice machine: Most likely the valve is located behind the refrigerator, but in some cases it may be located in the basement.
  • Toilets: The shut-off valve can be found directly behind the toilet’s base and attached to the wall.
  • Water heater: The valve is on the supply line to the appliance.
  • Water softener: Located on the supply line going into the device.
  • Washing machine: Water shut-off valves are on the wall behind or to the side of the machine.
  • Main Water Line Shut-Off Valve

If the leak occurs somewhere along the main water line to the house, you’ll need to cut water to the entire property. On most homes, this valve is located inside the home where the water supply enters the house. In homes with basements, you’ll most likely find the line along one of the exterior walls in the basement.  Homes without basements may find the supply line in a utility closet, in the laundry room, kitchen, or bathroom.

City Water Main Breaks

When this line bursts, most likely you’ll experience flooding in the yard. It’s important to stop the water because it doesn’t take long for a flooded yard to turn into a flooded basement. City water main supply lines can be trickier to turn off. The shut-off valve is usually located in the yard, underground in a box and covered with a metal plate. Californians should always know how to shut off water from the main city line in case of earthquakes when water lines can become unstable.

To prepare for a plumbing emergency, Rooter Hero Plumbing always recommends that homeowners investigate the location of water shut-off valves before an incident occurs. If you need help finding these valves, give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with additional information over the phone or in person.