How Do I Shut Off My Main Water Valve in an Emergency?

Hand turning off water supply on a water meter

Preparing for unexpected emergencies is one of the bigger responsibilities of homeownership, and a plumbing emergency is one of the most stressful ways things can go wrong.

Anything from a burst pipe to a sewage backup can quickly cause significant damage if you don’t stop the water flow immediately — so understanding how to shut off water to the house is key.

How Do I Turn Off the Main Water?

How to shut off a ball valve main water valve

The first thing to find out is where your main water valve is. In homes with a basement or crawl space, check the area where water enters from the meter. It’ll likely be on an interiorwall at the front. If you have a slab, check the garage near your water heater.

In cases where the valve is not indoors, it’s probably near your front curb or sidewalk. Look for a metal cover labeled “water.” It covers a cement box with a city shut-off valve on the left, a water meter in the center, and your home’s shut-off valve on the right.

You may be able to open the box using a long screwdriver, or you may have to visit your local hardware store to purchase a meter key.

To turn off the water to the house, turn the shutoff ball or gate valve clockwise until it stops.

How Do I Turn Off the Water to My Sink or Toilet?

It’s important to distinguish between an isolation valve and a shut-off valve. While your shut-off valve controls water for the whole home, an isolation valve allows you to turn off water to specific appliances like sinks, washing machines, water heaters, or toilets.

Check the plumbing near each fixture to find the small valve, and turn it clockwise to shut off water locally. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the isolation valves in your home so you can take quick action in the case of a toilet backup or other emergency.

Call Us for 24/7 Emergency Plumbing & Water Line Repair

At Andreas Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we know how stressful a plumbing emergency can be. If you have any emergency plumbing situation, the most important thing to do is shut off your water immediately — and then call Team Andreas.

We’re here 24/7 to repair your pipes and water lines as quickly as possible.

Call (610) 377-5261 to schedule emergency plumbing services from background-checked and trained technicians.