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Emergency Plumbing Tips: How to Turn Your Water Off

A broken water pipe in your home or business can cause thousands of dollars in damageif you don't get it cut off quickly. Knowing how to shut down the water system in a home or business is a piece of knowledge every property owner needs.

Although the location of main cut-off valves varies, most homes and businesses have cut-off valves for sinks, tubs, showers and ice makers. You need to know where your cut-off valve is located so you can turn your water off if needed. Most importantly, you need to know where your main shut-off valve is located.

Locate the Main Shut-off Valve to Turn Your Water Off

It's best to know where the shut-off valve is in your home or business before you have an emergency plumbing situation. That way, you'll know its location and will be prepared in the event of a water pipe leak. During this time, you can also determine if you'll need a certain type of tool to turn your water off.

The shut-off valve may be in a recessed pipe on the ground, along the side of the house or building, or in your basement. It's possible that the shut-off valve to be located next to the water meter in some homes, so you have several places to look as options.

Get the Tools Needed

Older shut-off valves may need a wrench or special tool to turn water off at the source. Until you find the shut-off valve, you will not know what type of valve you're dealing with.

Turning Off the Valve

Be careful when you turn your water off at the main valve. Some valves only need a quarter turn, so don't overdo it and create another problem. Lever-type valves are off when the lever is turned at a 90-degree angle relative to the pipe. When aligned with the pipe, the water is on.

Shut-off valves usually have stops that prevent you from going farbut don't force the valve. Many homes have shut-off valves under the toilet, kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks to cut off the water. However, these valves only work for that particular fixture.

Check to Make Sure the Water is Off

Turn on a faucet to make sure the water is off. A little water may run from the pipes and it should slow to a trickle. If it still flows regularly, check your main valve again. Once your water is off, there are a few other things to check.

You should turn off the hot water heater, even if the broken water line is the cold side. This will prevent you or your plumber from being burned, and even protect your hot water heater in the event the water drains from it.

Your Next Steps

Now that you have the water turned off, you can tackle the repair yourself or call a professional. If you have had a major water leak that's damaged sub-flooring, carpeting or tile, you need to take photos immediately because the incident might be covered under your homeowner or business insurance.

Do You Need a Professional Plumber?

Water damage can be very destructive. Be sure that any damage caused by a water line breakage is repaired properly, along with the broken pipe. New methods of plumbing technology make water line replacement, in your home or business, easier than ever. Created from materials that will last as long as copper, they are as easy to install and comparable in price to copper. It is worth considering replacing the copper pipe in your home or business with PVC or PEX pipe, both of which can be less expensive and easier to install.

Dealing With Common Plumbing Problems

Topics: Pipe Bursting, Plumbing in Sacramento, Trenchless Technology, Pipe Leaks and Repair, Plumbing Emergencies