Knowing the location of the various water valve shut-offs in your home, as well as the mains valves that control the supply of water for the entire house, is indispensable.
When emergencies arise—such as a burst water pipe or an overflowing toilet, for example—knowing how to shut off the water can be the difference between a mild mishap and an outright disaster.
It’s best to start by auditing and checking all the water-using appliances and fixtures in your home and establishing where their shut-off valves are located.
At the taps and toilets, for example, you will be looking for a stop valve connected to the water supply tubes, usually located directly under the fixtures. There will usually be one behind the washing machine too. Some have wheel valves, and some simpler lever style handles. You should turn the valves or handles clockwise to shut.
If you cannot locate a fixture valve, the next best solution is to close the internal stop cock that controls the flow of water to the entire house, which is normally located where the col water pipe enters, often in the kitchen. To turn it off, rotate clockwise.
The next best solution is to switch off the water supply to the entire property at the external stop cock, although this should be done only in emergencies and generally only with the permission of the utility company, and consent of householders whose supply may be controlled by the same stop cock.
Outside of freak incidents brought on by freezing cold temperatures, burst pipes often result from ignoring or missing out the apparently small problems that regularly occur around a home.
These problems—such as damaged water lines and small leaks—are among the top five causes of water damage.
Having to shut off the water supply to your home is a necessary evil; an emergency response. However, calling on a professional plumber to repair apparently small problems, as soon as you notice them, minimises the chances of serious problems arising in the future.
Water damage often results from ignoring or missing out the apparently small problems that regularly occur around a home. The best way to prevent serious emergencies from arising is to take note of all problems around the home, and have them checked without delay by a registered plumber.