Knowing the location of your home’s main shut-off valve is extremely important. If a plumbing disaster should occur in your home, being able to get to your main shut-off valve quickly can mean the difference between a little water on the floor and a major homeowner’s insurance claim.

If you’re reading this and you don’t know where your main shut-off valve is, now is the time to change that! Here’s a quick guide on how to easily find your home’s main shut-off valve, as well as the individual fixture shut-off valves throughout your home.

Main Shut-Off Valve Scavenger Hunt

Tip #1: Check Along The Outside Areas Of Your Home – Main shut-off valves are rarely ever within the central confines of a home, so go ahead and start by looking around the outer borders of your house.

Tip #2: Don’t Bother Checking Any Upper Levels – The main shut-off valves will be on either the ground or basement level of your home, so don’t waste your time checking on your upstairs level.

Tip #3: Check The Inspection Report That You Received After Purchasing Your Home – If you still have the inspection report that was provided to you upon the purchase of your home, the location of your main shut-off valve should be listed on the report.

Tip #4: Follow Your Main Water Line – In most cases, your main water line will lead to your shut-off valve with no additional piping or deviations. That being said, if you know where your water main is, figuring out where the shortest path into your house would be a good way of finding the main shut-off valve, too.

Following these steps should easily help you locate your main shut-off valve and help you be prepared to halt a plumbing disaster in its tracks. If you went through all of these steps but still couldn’t locate your main shut-off valve, it’s possible that it is outside, underground, along your water main line, so check there as well.  

Individual Plumbing Fixture Shut-Off Valves:

  • Sinks: Underneath the sink (usually in a cabinet), you’ll find a small valve that you can turn clockwise to turn off the water if there’s a sink emergency.
  • Toilets: Much like with your home’s sinks, you should find a small valve behind the toilet, connected to the wall. Turning the valve clockwise will stop the water in the case of a major leak or overflow.
  • Washing Machine: In the case of washing machines, you’ll find two valves behind the machine that will both need to be turned off in the event of a plumbing emergency. Some houses may have a lever in place of or in addition to the valves. You might have to maneuver your washing machine out of its nook in order to access these valves or the lever.

Whether or not you ever have a plumbing emergency it’s good to know where your shut-off valves are so that you’re ready to act quickly. Knowing your home is the first step in protecting it from unnecessary damages!