water shut off valveWhen a plumbing emergency happens, do you know how to shut off the water to your home? Waiting until an emergency arises is not a good time to determine the location of your water shut-off valve.

Regardless of the individual catastrophe which sends water shooting across the room, through the walls, and into the lower level ceilings, the ability to stop the water in your house is an imperative safeguard against the amplification of certain problems. While this knowledge will not prevent pipes from bursting or drains from clogging, it will allow you to best control the situation should it occur.

The average homeowner files an insurance claim every nine years, making it less of a question of whether you will someday need to know how to shut off the water in your home, and more of a matter of how soon it will happen to you.

What is a water shut-off valve?

The water shut-off valve is typically placed close to the point of entrance of water into your house, apartment, or office building. It s purpose is to cease the flow of water. There are line shut-off valves located throughout your home: washing machine, sinks, external faucets, dishwashers, and toilets. These valves stop individual lines of water when maintenance is required. Your main shut-off controls the flow of all water into your home or office.

Why the knowledge of your shut-off valve location is important

Every second counts once a pipe bursts. The typical house can experience an average of 16 gallons of flood water flowing each minute, so you have little time to spare. Cascading water moves quickly and can damage even that which is out of sight, including floor joists and foundations. Although stopping the water will not reverse what damage has already been done, the ability to stop the situation from escalating can save you thousands of dollars and weeks of additional repairs.

Spread the word

Once you find your water shut-off valve, let everyone in the house know where it is, and show them how to operate it. If your shut-off valve is in an unusual area, do not stop with those who reside with you; share this location with house guests, baby sitters, and anyone that may be watching your home while you are away. Explain the dangers involved with flood waters and develop a plan that begins with stopping the water.

After you have shut off your water valve, now you can start salvaging affected possessions, cleaning up what you can, and contacting a plumber or water damage professional, and documenting as much as you can for insurance purposes.