What’s the first thing you should do if your household plumbing springs a leak? You may be inclined to think calling a plumber is the first order of business—but no, not quite. Actually, your first step should be shutting off the water, which will keep your home from flooding, minimizing the water damage that is done.
Of course, this can be problematic if you don’t know where the house’s main water valve is located. If you haven’t yet identified this valve, now’s a good time to do so, to ensure you’re totally ready for any possible plumbing emergencies.
Locating Your Water Shut Off
If your home is connected to the municipal water supply, there should be a shut off valve that can stop the flow of water to all your pipes and plumbing appliances. Most of the time, you’ll find it is located next to the water meter.
Yes—but where is the water meter? It’s not always in an obvious location. Start by circling your house and seeing if the meter is attached to the outside of the home, or on a short post somewhere in the ground; if you don’t spot it, it’s probably underground. In these cases, there should be a small metal cover—like a manhole cover or a hatch—with the word “water” marked on it.
If you are unable to find the water meter even after following these steps, call your local water authority, or schedule an inspection from a local plumber.
As for the valve, it will be connected to the main water supply in close proximity to the meter. Sometimes it will look like a regular old spigot handle, but some valves are actually metal flanges, and may blend in with the surrounding pipes. Again, if you have trouble spotting it, don’t hesitate to call a plumber.
It is also worth noting that each individual plumbing appliance or fixture will have its own shut off valve, which is good to know if you have a problem with just the one piece of plumbing and don’t want to shut off all the water to your house. Sink valves are usually right below the sink, for example, and toilet shut offs should be very close to the toilet itself.
If you need help locating any of these important shut off valves, don’t hesitate to contact our Vancouver plumbing pros!