Moving into a new home is exciting, it also brings a lot of work. One of the most important things you can do when moving into a new home is to locate the water main in your property. Knowing where this is in the event of an emergency or disaster will come in handy, if you ever need it. Knowing where the shut off valve is will allow you to turn off the water should you ever need to stop new water from coming into your home. If you have a burst pipe, you will want to shut off the water promptly!
What is a water shut off valve?
A water shut off valves is the primary connection between the pipes where water enters your home from your village pipes. In many cases, your home’s water goes through three different valves before entering your home’s main shutoff valve. Knowing where this is can be a real lifesaver when a plumbing disaster strikes and will allow you to stop the water from gushing in to your home which will help alleviate any unwanted damage.
How To Find The Main Water Shut Off In Your House
Finding your homes water shut off valve can be a little tricky because not all homes are the same. Depending on the evaluation of your home, when your property was built and the city codes, the location of your shut off valve will be different. This article will help you find your water shut off valve.
Before we dig in, it is important to know that in homes with extreme cold winters (such as the Chicago area) will generally have the water shut off valve inside the home. This is done to prevent pipes from freezing which can lead to damaging and unwanted pipe bursts.
Start with the Ground-Level
It is important to understand that the water lines entering your home typically come from the street, therefore your shut off valve will be in the front of the home or part closest to the street, often found at ground level. Begin looking towards the bottom of the wall closest to the street on the ground level. Just knowing this will usually enable you to find the shut off valve quickly.
What if My Shut Off Valve is Not Located in the Front of My Home?
If you were unable to find the shut off valve in the front of your home, chances are it could be in the back of your home. If you have a blueprint of your home, it will help you find it promptly by looking in the plumbing section where you will find the location of the shut off valve clearly spelled out.
Two Types of Water Shut Off Valves
Depending on the type of shut off valve the builder used, you will have a different handle used to cut off circulation. There are primarily two types of valves, a ball valve and a gate valve.
If the plumbing pipes coming into your home are plastic, you most likely have a ball valve as your shut off point. Ball valves have a handle that opens and closes the gate allowing water to flow into your home. When the handle is lined up with the water pipe, water will be allowed to flow freely into your home. By simply turning the wheel a quarter of the way so it is at a right angle, you will shut off the water and prevent water from further entering your home. When turning this 90 degrees, it shifts to block the water flow. Over time, these valves can lose their stickiness so it is a good idea to test them every season or daylight savings time. By testing them periodically, it will help prevent any unwanted surprises from happening. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A gate valve is the second type of shut off valve and most often associated with copper or other metal pipes leading into you home. Gate valves use a ball which acts as a wall to cut off water flow. A common problem with gate valves is that if they are not used often they are known to freeze up or get stuck when you need them most. As with the ball valve, it’s best to test them out periodically to make sure they are properly functioning.