Where is my Water Shut Off Valve?

Water, while essential, is a fair weather friend. Your perfect, soothing hot shower can quickly turn to disaster if the hot water heater breaks or a pipe springs a leak. In that case, you would spring into crisis mode and do… what?

Many people have no idea how to disable their hot water heater or main water supply in the event of an emergency. In this quick guide, we’ll provide you with several simple steps and tricks to avoid costly water damage and to know what to do should ever that crisis occur.

How to Shut Off Your Main Water Supply

Up North, most water meters are located in the basement of homes. Here in Charlotte (and most southern states), they are typically outside near the curb in a concrete or metal box marked “WATER”. If you can find your water meter, you’re well on your way to cutting off the water supply.

Now, using pliers or a screwdriver, open the box up. Inside you will see two pipes with levers/valves on them. The one that leads into your home is the house valve. The other is the main water supply. Turn off the one on the street side to cut off the water. Once you’ve done this, go inside and turn on any faucet to make sure it worked.

Managing the main water supply is an essential disaster preparedness tactic. Everyone who is old enough in your home should know how to do it at any time. We advise holding a family meeting to discuss scenarios in which water would need to be cut off, how to turn off the supply, and who to call and notify afterwards.

How to Shut Off Water Supply to Your Water Heater

If the problem is localized in your hot water heater, it may be unnecessary to jump right to turning off all of the water to the house. In the event of a hot water heater disaster, you must first turn off the gas or electricity. If you’re using gas, locate the thermostat and turn it “off”. If you’re running on electricity, find the circuit breakers and flip them “off”.

After you’ve cut the power, you must cut off the water supply to the heater. To do this, turn the supply valve on or near the heater clockwise until it’s completely stopped. In the event that this doesn’t actually stop the water, you’ll need to turn off the main water supply as we previously mentioned.

Now that all of the inputs are taken care of, you’ll need drain and relieve the tank. Attach a hose to the tank’s drain valve and allow it to run out. Take care when deciding where to drain the water, as it will be hot and possibly rusty. Turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in the house to drain it faster. Afterwards, flip the tank’s relief valve to get rid of the excess water and pressure. Then you should call a professional immediately.

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Learn more about Charlotte emergency plumbing here.

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