November 3, 2022

How to turn off the water in your home

Do you know where your home’s main water inlet valve is located? This valve controls the water coming into the house and can save you a lot of damage in emergencies. Closing this valve can also help prevent water damage during plumbing work.
Read on to learn more about your home’s water inlet valve so you know what to do in the event of water leaks or damage.
Person shutting of the main water valve with a round handle

What is the purpose of the water inlet valve?

Your home is connected to the municipal water system by a single pipe. Water usually enters the house on the street side, as the pipes run below the street.

The water inlet to the house is controlled by two valves, one outside (managed by the municipality) and the other inside, usually in the basement. Closing the basement valve will cut off the water supply to the entire house. This valve can be used in several situations:

  • if you lock up your cottage for the winter
  • if you go on vacation
  • if you plan to be away for an extended period over winter
  • if you notice a leak but can’t find the source and are waiting for the plumber to arrive
  • if your water heater bursts, causing water damage
  • if your pipes are frozen

It’s a good idea to turn off your home’s main water inlet before any plumbing work.

What does the residential water inlet valve look like?

Water is delivered to your home via a pipe that runs under the street. If you don’t know where your main water inlet valve is, look in the basement on the street side.

The valve handle can be flat, like a knife, or round.

To close a flat-handle valve, turn the handle perpendicular to the pipe. If it is parallel to the pipe, the valve is open.

To close a round-handle valve, turn it clockwise.

Don’t wait for an emergency to look for the main water inlet valve and learn how to close it. If it is hard to get to, sort this issue out to ensure ease of access. Occasionally check that it is still working well, i.e., you can turn off the water supply to your home without too much effort.

Person shutting off the main water valve with a flat handle

What if the main valve is leaking?

You may need to replace the main water inlet valve due to wear, defective parts or a leak.

Before doing so, you must ask your municipality to temporarily close the city’s shut off valve to your property.

Turn off the water before the winter freeze

As fall turns to winter, it’s important to turn off the water from the pipes that connect to your garden hose.

Simply locate where the pipes come out and close the tap. Then drain the pipes from the outside.

Call a plumber

Water damage is one of the main reasons for insurance claims. Even a tiny leak can do a lot of damage. You shouldn’t take plumbing lightly and think you can fix everything yourself.

Tip: Call a plumber!

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