Plumbing emergencies are something that we rarely think will happen to us, but when they do it becomes immediately apparent that we must do something…and fast! What do you do if your kitchen faucet breaks and water is spraying all over your kitchen, or if your toilet is quickly filling up with water after you flush it?
Head Straight for the Water Shutoff Valve
As a homeowner, the most important thing you need to know about your plumbing is where to shut off the water. If your home is like most and is supplied by municipal water, the main shutoff valve is close to the water meter, so the easiest thing to do first is to find the meter.
Water meters are often located underground near the street or along the edge of a property. Look for a metal lid that looks like a small manhole cover marked “water meter” or “water.” Most hatches can be easily removed by unscrewing a single bolt.
Underneath the hatch is a rotating valve that is similar to an outdoor spigot, or a valve with a metal flange. In either case, you will need to turn the valve clockwise and until it stops and shuts down the water supply to your home.
Some homes have a water shutoff valve in the basement or in a crawlspace. In such cases, this would be along the main water line and just inside the home.
Shutoff Valves for Plumbing Fixtures
Plumbing fixtures such as faucets, water heaters, toilets, and dishwashers usually have their own dedicated shutoff valve. It’s easy to locate the shutoff valve for freestanding fixtures such as toilets or pedestal sinks, as the shutoff valve is located between the fixture and the floor or wall.
For kitchen sinks, dishwashers, and cabinet-mounted sinks, you can find their shutoff valves under the kitchen sink.
For fixtures such as bathtubs and showers that are mounted against the wall, it is harder to shut off the water locally because any such valves are usually hidden behind the drywall.
Keep in mind that shutting off valves with your bare hands can be difficult since they have may not have been turned in years. You are better off using a wrench, and you can also loosen each valve before there is a problem with a household spray oil. This way, if you ever do need to shut them off quickly, it will be easier to do.
Call (512) 277-5535 for plumbing emergencies!
Do you have a plumbing emergency? Call the Austin plumbers at Excalibur Plumbing today! Our family-owned and operated company is fully licensed and certified, and ready to serve you!