Broken pipes can occur at any time without warning, causing rapid flooding in a short period of time. Whenever a flood originates from the water supply of your own house, your first step should be to immediately turn off the main water valve to prevent further damage. It’s important for everybody in your household to know where the emergency shut-off valve is, and how to properly close it. This will save you a lot of hassle and money as opposed to scrambling to locate the shut-off valve in the midst of a flood.
The easiest way to locate your house’s emergency shut-off valve is to examine the plumbing section of your house’s property inspection report. You likely received a property inspection report when you purchased your home, and if you still have it, it should detail the location of the shutoff value as well as show a picture of what it looks like.
If you don’t have your property inspection report on the ready, or if it doesn’t show where the shutoff valve is, you can look for it in its most probable locations. The first thing to do is to trace the path of your water main. Since water lines run directly from the water main to the shut-off valve, the valve can be located if you know the direction of your water main. The shut-off valve is almost always towards the perimeter of a house. It will probably be on the side of the house that’s facing the street, be located in the basement, and be around eye level. It may also be located behind an access panel. The valve will likely be either a gate valve or a ball valve, each with its own distinct appearance and manner of operation.
A gate valve creates a barrier between the water supply, and has a circular handle that must be turned clockwise to shut off water flow. A gate valve must be turned several times to fully close, and it can often be very difficult to turn if it has gone untouched for several years. It’s a good idea to test if you can turn it to see if it needs any maintenance.
A ball valve uses a hollow, rotating ball to control the flow of water, and has a knife-like handle. A ball valve is open when the handle is aligned with the main water pipe. To close it, just turn the handle clockwise until it’s perpendicular to the pipe.
Once you have found and identified your water shut-off valve, make sure that every member of your household knows how to close it in the case of an emergency. It never hurts to have your whole family know how to quickly mitigate the damage of a flood.
If you want to be extra sure your house is safe from emergency water situations, DriBot has an available automatic water shut off valve that can stop the supply of water to your home in the event of an emergency. Coupled with leak monitoring and an advanced sump pump system, DriBot protects your home water damage 24/7.
In summary, don’t let the first time you locate your shut-off valve be during a damaging flood. It is an essential part of a homeowner’s knowledge to understand how to shut off the supply of water to their house for practical, as well as emergency reasons. Knowing the location of your house’s main shut-off valve can allow you to stop a leaking or burst pipe before the water damage gets any worse. And installing a system like DriBot can make sure your home is protected.