How to Turn Your Water Off (in an Emergency)
No one really thinks about their home plumbing all that much. Everything is out of sight, out of mind—it all runs just fine and you needn’t give it a second thought. However, because of this, a homeowner can end up in a sticky situation in the event of a plumbing emergency.
How to Identify a Plumbing Emergency
Because shutting off the main water supply can be a bit of a hassle depending on how your home or residential area is set up, it’s a good idea to be able to identify what a plumbing emergency actually is. We consider an issue as an emergency in the following scenarios:
- The plumbing issue involves any amount of ongoing leakage, which frequently can lead to extensive water damage throughout the home.
- The issue is producing loud banging noises within your home’s walls, which is most likely caused by pipe knocking—a sound produced when changes in water pressure are causing your pipes to shift and bang into interior walls or flooring.
- Water is continuously backing up from your drain or sewer lines, which is highly unsanitary and can lead to extensive damage.
- Pipes in your home are frozen, which can lead to building pressure that can result in a burst pipe.
Locating the Shut-Off Valve in Your Home
We highly recommend learning where the main shutoff valve is located well before you actually encounter an emergency. If you’ve moved recently or haven’t done this already, do it now! You absolutely need to know the location of the valve in order to shut off your water in the case of an emergency.
While there is no standardized location for shutoff valves, they are most commonly found in one of two locations. These are in the basement along a wall—frequently at around waist or eye level—or along the exterior walls of your home, most commonly found near a hose faucet on the street-facing side of your home.
Your main shutoff will have one of two valve types: a ball valve which is a lever-shaped valve—turn it parallel to the pipe to shut off the water. Or, it will be a gate valve, which is the more recognizable wheel-shaped valve with which many of us are familiar. To shut off your water with a gate valve, turn it clockwise.
Shutting Down a Hot Water Heater
If your water heater is acting up, causing trouble, or worrying you, it’s a good idea to know how to shut it off as well. Leaving a water heater running when it is leaking, overheating, or experiencing electrical/gas issues is extremely dangerous! If in doubt of the safety of the system, shut it off.
A gas water heater can be shut off by rotating the dial located above or near the thermostat. In most cases, the dial positions will simply be labeled “on” and “off.”
An electric water heater needs to be shut off at the control panel to ensure safety. Do not approach an electrical appliance when it is acting in an unusual manner! If you don’t know the breaker, find out now. Or if the water heater isn’t on a dedicated circuit, it needs to be.
Emergency Plumbing Repair in Cleveland, Ohio
After shutting off your water, it is imperative that you stop there. Don’t try to poke around or perform repairs on your own. It might not seem like it, but plumbing can be dangerous for both you and your home, so leave your plumbing repairs to the pros at Blind & Sons.