Where to Locate the Water Shut-Off Valves in Your Home

burst water pipeFew things can cause more water damage more quickly than a damaged fixture, burst pipe or other event that allows your water supply to pour into your living space. You’ll need to act quickly to stop the flow, and that means knowing where your water shutoff valves are. Knowing these locations may also save you time during future home repairs.

Before we discuss where each valve is located, here are three recommendations that apply to each one:

  1. Make sure multiple members of your family are aware of these locations. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to send someone to shut them off, and when water damage is happening, seconds count.
  2. Consider putting brightly colored tags or even a sign on the valves to save even more time in a crisis.
  3. As you hunt down each of these, examine the area around them closely for leaks, damage, condensation, cracks or bulges in rubber or ribbed supply hoses, etc. You may be able to head off a major water damage restoration effort just by looking in the right spots.

Now, let’s locate each valve:

How to shut off water in the kitchen

The kitchen sink cutoffs are the easiest to find. They’re usually just under the sink or near the bottom of the cabinet and have pipes leading straight up to either side of the faucet.

kitchen water supply shutoff valve

The dishwasher cutoff may be more complicated. Look for a second shutoff valve on the hot water supply line for your sink with horizontal pipe leading away from it. If you don’t find it there, check the basement ceiling directly below the dishwasher.

Bathroom water shut-off

If you have a bathroom vanity, your sink cutoffs will be similar to the arrangement in the kitchen. Pedestal type sinks require more investigation. The water supply lines usually come in through the rear of the sink basin, so plumbers often install the cutoffs on the other side of the wall to avoid ruining the sleek lines of the sink.

You may even find them above the ceiling in some houses so there isn’t a set of valves or an obvious hatch in the wall in the next room. If you have a suspended ceiling, check behind the ceiling tile directly above the sink; otherwise, look for other ways to access that area.

In bathrooms where the tub and shower are near the sink, you may find an access hatch to the tub shutoffs in the sink vanity. If not, look in the basement between the floor joists directly under the tub.

The shutoff valve for your toilet is almost always in the open right under the toilet tank. The water line is usually a ribbed type and the handle is usually an oval.

toilet water shut-off valve

How to shut off water to the laundry room

The cutoffs in your laundry room are probably right behind or above the washer. While you’re there, give the supply line hoses a close look for bulges or cracks, especially if they’re the rubber type. Make sure they’re sufficiently tight on both ends.

Outside hose water shut-off

Now, grab a flashlight and let’s find the three important basement shutoffs.

If you have an outside faucet, it’s likely there’s a shutoff in the supply line. Trace the line back from where it goes out through the basement wall until you find the valve.

How to shut off water to your water heater

Your water heater has a valve a few inches above the top, which will shut off all hot water. In most situations it will make more sense to just use the main house shutoff (see below) but it’s still a good idea to know where this one is.

How to shut off all the water to your house

The most important shutoff is your home’s main valve. Usually this valve is located low (waist level or so) on the inside basement wall closest to your street. When looking for it, start with your water softener; they’re often installed near the main. The water meter is always mounted right near the main, and the valve itself will be large, metal and have a very sturdy handle.

main water shutoff valve

If you need water damage restoration after you shut off the flow, call a qualified water damage restoration contractor and your insurance carrier.

LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066.

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