Home Repair 101: How to Operate Your Water Shut Off Valve

Knowing how to operate the water valve inside your home is good knowledge to keep inside your bag of handy repair skills. Whether you need to shut your water off to perform plumbing inside your own home or stop a sudden leak, having this knowledge could potentially help save you a lot of money and empower you as an independent homeowner. 

Supplies needed: 

  • Flashlight – Helps you locate valves in dark crawl spaces. 
  • Step Stool – If you need to get access to a ceiling panel. 
  • Flat Head Screwdriver – To pop open any panels and gain access to water Valve. 
  • Small Hand Towel – Helps alleviate friction when loosening valves or to clean up water. 
  • Wrench – To assist in loosening any valves that might be too tight. 

In order to find and access your water value you will: 

  1. Begin your search for the shutoff valve within your home. A detail to keep in mind is that valves are often close to the home’s main water supply line and can be hidden and tucked away in closed crawl spaces. Having a flashlight handy can also help you locate the water valve in a dark space.  
  1. Valves vary in looks and sizes. Two common types of main water shutoff valves are Ball Valves and Gate Valves. Ball valves run horizontal with your water line when they are open. To close this type of valve, move the handle 90 degrees to be perpendicular with the water line or until it forms a T shape. This will stop all water from coming through. In order to release the water, align the handle back to be parallel with the water line.  

Water valves can also be accessed independently of the main water valve, with valves usually being close to their sources; washing machines, sinks, and toilets all usually have nobs located nearby. These commonly have gate valves, which look very similar to wheel-shaped valves on your exterior water hose. The steel or copper wheels are sometimes blue or red in color. To open and close this valve, you will have to tighten it by spinning it to one side completely. To open it again, you will un-tighten the wheel by spinning it entirely to the opposite direction. 

Follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way to performing regular home maintenance, saving on repair costs, and preserving your home’s longevity.  

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