Know Where Your Water Main Shutoff is Located

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Each home has a water main shut-off like the one pictured above. Homes which are attached to a city or municipal water supplier receive water through an main water line which is normally a 3/4 inch copper pipe which enters the building through a wall in the basement or the lowest level. The water is maintained in the system under pressure. This pressure is usually controlled by a water pressure regulator and kept at a level of between 40 and 80 pounds per square inch. This allows water to flow to faucets and appliances when they are opened or utilized. Should an appliance or water line rupture, water will flow freely through the system causing a great deal of damage to the structure and contents of the home until the system is shut down. It is critical that as a homeowner, you know where the water main shut-off valve is located in your home and that you are able to turn off the water should a breech in the system occur. In addition, you may need to repair a pipe or appliance and need to temporarily turn off the system in order to do so.
If you don’t know where your water main shut off is located, start in the basement or utility area in your home and look for the fresh water pipes, which in most cases are either copper, flexible PEX piping, or CPVC white plastic pipes. Trace the piping to an exterior wall and look for the point at which it enters the building. If you have found the right place, a valve like this one, or similar to this one pictured, will be located just adjacent to the point at which the pipe enters from the wall. That is the water main. You can test to see if it is the main valve by turning it to the closed position and then running the water in a sink or faucet. If the water slows and stops, it is very likely the water main.
If you are not able to determine the location of your water main valve, a qualified plumber or expert can help you locate it. This is an important bit of information to have in the event of a plumbing emergency.