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Prevent Water Damage, Know How to Turn Your Water Off in an Emergency

Prevent Water Damage, Know How to Turn Your Water Off in an Emergency

Water damage in your home can be catastrophic. What starts as a small leak can quickly turn into damaged walls, ruined floors, and thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture repairs – if it can be salvaged at all.

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However, homeowners don’t have to allow a little leak to turn into a major problem. To avoid serious issues, though, you’ll need to know more about your home and how you can get your water off if or when you spring a leak.


Locate Your Main Shut-Off Valve

Whether you’ve lived in your home for six months or sixteen years, you should know where your main water shut-off valve is and whether or not it works. The fact is that many homeowners simply don’t know, and if they once did, they forgot a long time ago. In some instances, there are issues with communication; many times the husbands know where to find the shut-off valve, but fail to share this information with their wives.

There have been several instances in which customers call to report a broken pipe or leak in their house, but they don’t know where the shut-off valve is, which forces them to wait until our technician arrives. Meanwhile, the distraught customer’s home is filling with a seemingly unstoppable stream of running water. If more people were aware of the location of their home’s water shut-off valve, the damage in cases like this would generally be far less extensive.

The location of your main shut-off valve depends on your region and style of home. While it can be hard to predict where your main shut-off valve will be, there are a few basic places homeowners can look to locate theirs.

In condos, townhomes, and apartments, sometimes the shut-off valve can be found near the water heater or the water softener.

Homeowners with a basement, this is an ideal place to start. In general, you’ll often find your main shut-off valve on the front foundation wall. If it is not clearly marked, you’ll usually be able to locate it within three to five feet of where water enters your home.

Homeowners that have a basement with a crawl space may find their main shut-off valve outside of the house where the water pipes enter the home, usually within the first few feet. If that’s where yours is, having a secondary shut-off valve installed is often a wise idea. Homes that just have a crawl space without a basement typically have shut-off valves in the crawl space, near the water heater, or under the kitchen sink.

Finally, slab-on-construction homes tend to house main shut-off valves near the water heater or kitchen sink, though almost any other location is possible depending on the builder. Most of the time, the shut-off valve is located below the front hose bibb or spigot. Florida building code requires there to be a shut-off valve where the water pipe enters the house. Sometimes it is covered by overgrowth or inside a valve box that mulch or grass have hidden.


Find Individual Shut-Off Valves

In many homes, you will find that specific appliances have hookups and individual shut-off valves. For example, the kitchen sink and are where you keep your washing machine and dryer will likely have a specific connection and shut-off valve.

When you can isolate a problem to only these areas, using the shut-off valve for individual appliances is often an ideal solution. Not only will this be faster than getting to your main shut-off valve in most cases, but it will also allow you access to water in the rest of your house. If you’re having a problem with your washing machine there’s no reason you should be without your sinks and toilet fixtures, after all.

Locate individual shut-off valves near appliances and remember where they are located in the case of an emergency. They shouldn’t be too hard to find, but marking them with paint or a tag can make them easier to find again when and if something goes wrong. Once you’ve located your home’s main shut-off valve, try turning it off and on every 6 months; this will keep it from freezing into place, and will ensure that it is still easy to use the next time you need it.

If your home doesn’t have individual shut-off valves, you’ll need to rely on the main shut-off valve to prevent damage, even if it’s isolated to one appliance and area.


Keep Emergency Phone Numbers Handy

Once you know where your main shut-off valve is you can prevent major catastrophes if you’re at home when they begin. A qualified plumber can also show you where your individual and main shut-off valves are during a routine service call. Once you’ve turned off your water, you’ll still need a professional handle repairs right away, so you should always keep emergency plumbing contacts handy.

Fenwick Home Services is available any time, day or night. So keep our contact information on hand in case of emergencies. You can call us 24/7 at (904) 724-7022 or contact us online at