Shutting Off Water, Why shut off water

Shutting Off Water speaks to what is shutting off water and why shut off water.

Before starting any plumbing job, for obvious reasons, it is very necessary to shut off the water. Not doing so can leave you and your surrounding workplace both soaked and unsafe. Where you shut the water off depends on the kind of fixture being worked on, the kind of pipe that supplies it, and the presence or absence of shut-off valves.

Suggested Method

If you are working on a fixture, such as a sink or toilet, look under the fixture for shut valves, also known as stop valves, on both the cold and hot water lines. Most homes built in the last 40 years have them. These valves have oval handles or round handles with indented knuckles.

Stop valves are meant for light, infrequent duty and if they don’t completely the water, do not attempt to tighten them with a wrench or pliers. They will likely break, and you will have defeated your original purpose. If there are no stop valves on a fixture, include their installation on your work list, then look back down the pipe system for intermediate valves.

Intermediate Valves for Shutting Off Water

First, disregard any valves on pipes coming from a hot water heating system boiler. These will not be the cause of any water supply problems.

Follow the path of water lines in the basement or crawlspace. Look for valves with a round or straight handle and turn the hot and cold supply off. If the water has not been used rece3ntly you can tell by simple touch to sense hot or cold. If both pipes are cold you can trace them back to the water heater to be sure.

Alternate spots to look for intermediate valves are in tub and shower access panels, behind the bathtub and on the water heater. Access panels can be tricky to find Look in the back of the wall in which the pipes are located, often in a closet. Watch for ridges along a painted joint, or round marks indicating screws buried in the paint.

One of the problems intermediate valves pose is that you can’t be sure what part of the house they control. To find out, close one at a time and turn on the faucets in the house section by section. Flush the toilets and the toilet tank will drain. Then lift the tank lid off and see it is filling.

If you can’t find intermediate valves, you will have to shut off the water using the main valve.


The Main Valve

All homes have at least one main shut off valve and in cold climates the valve is inside the house.

Completion of Shutting Off Water.

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