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How to shut off the water in your house? A comprehensive guide

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to completely shut off the water supply to your house? While you know the main shut-off valve is installed somewhere, you may still find it hard to find and operate it, especially in panic situations.

A step-by-step guide to shut off the water in your house.

Here is our step-by-step guide on everything you need to know to shut water in your house.

1.      Locate the main valve of your house

The first step in this process will be locating the main valve at your house. There are different locations where this valve might be installed. While installed on the main line, it could be installed internally, externally, or even buried under the ground. Below are the details you must know about finding the main valve at your home:

  • The main valve installed inside your house: These valves are usually in the utility areas on the street side of your house. This valve can also be located in the basement.
  • The main valve installed outdoors: When it is installed outdoors, it is usually on an exterior wall. The main valve is usually installed outdoors in places with a warm climates.
  • Main valve buried outdoors: If you cannot find the main valve indoors or outdoors, then there are chances that it is buried underground. You may find it underground near the water meter. While you may access other valves, these valves can only be accessed according to the rules.

Once you locate the main valve from any of the abovementioned cases, you may proceed with the next steps.

2.      Turn the valve to close it.

Now you will need to turn the valve to close it. If it has a round handle, you may need to keep turning it clockwise until it stops. Verify that it is closed by checking pressure at a nearby tap. If the valve has a long handle, it will only allow you to rotate it up to 90 degrees. In that case, you turn the valve handle, and you will close it. While the main valve is closed, you are still not done yet.

3.      Run all the taps to drain all the water in the pipeline

After closing the main valve, you need to run all the taps with good drainage, as there will be a lot of water in the pipelines. Running the taps will drain water present in the pipelines. Focus on the taps at a lower height from the ground, as they will get the most water out of the pipes.

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4.      If you have valves for different parts of the home, close the desired ones.

Now that you have drained the pipelines, you can check for individual valves present inside the house. Most houses have valves dedicated to different rooms, floors, and portions. These valves can be very helpful if you want to cut off the water supply from a specific room while keeping water accessible in all other parts of the house. While leaving all others open, the closing valve of that room will let you peacefully use water in all other parts of the house.

5.      Let the professionals check if repairs are done correctly, and then turn the water on.

You cannot keep the main valve shut closed for a long time. However, if you have closed it due to any issues with plumbing at your place, then you must leave it up to the professionals. When you need to open the main valve, let the professionals check the whole plumbing system first and then close open it. This way, there will be no additional accidental damage to your property due to water leaking.

What to look for when finding your water shut-off valve?

While you are finding the main water shut-off valve, there will be a few types that you need to look for. Below are all the details to look out for when searching for the main valve at your house.

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Gate Valves

Gate valves are the ones that have a round handle on the top. You need to rotate the valve handle several times before opening or closing it.

Ball Valves

The ball valves have a half-cut ball in them. These valves need to be rotated up to 90 degrees to close and open them, so there is a long handle instead of a round one.

How shutting off water in your house can be beneficial?

You may need to shut off the main water valve in your home for several reasons. Here are a few reasons why closing this valve can help you under different circumstances.

Prevent structural damage

If you have a leakage in your home, then it can cause damage to your furniture, electronic appliances, and the structure of your home. So, closing this valve can stop this leakage, resulting in less structural damage to your house, electronics, etc.

Get time to patiently work on any repairs required.

If the plumbing body at your home needs any repairs, repairing it with the flow of water can be no less than a hassle. On the other hand, when you shut off the water supply to your home, there will be no continuous leaking which will make repairs much easier. It allows you to get the repairs done and the whole thing thoroughly tested before opening the water supply.

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Reduce water bills while you are not at home

If you leave home often with no one at home and suspect minor leakages in taps or especially in toilet tanks, then closing this valve will be good enough to prevent water from leaking. It not only saves a lot of water but also results in savings on the water bill.


No matter what the reason is for shutting off the water in your house, knowing how to close it can save you a lot of time and effort. So, we hope that this guide was helpful enough and whenever you need to close the water supply to your house, you will know exactly what to do.

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