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How to locate your home's main water shutoff valve

Exploding and Rusted Pipe

When you move into a new home, one of the very first things you'll want to do is locate the main water shutoff valve. This is the primary connection between the water that travels from your town's supply to  your home's plumbing system. If there is ever an emergency, like a burst pipe that is flooding your property and causing thousands of dollars in damage, you'll need to access this valve immediately so that no new water can enter your home.

In a lot of cases, the water travels through three different city-installed valves before passing through your main shutoff valve. This is most often located in the basement or the outside wall of many houses.

These valves always have a handle on them that you simply have to turn clockwise to cut the flow of water. If the pipes leading into your house are metal, usually copper, then you probably have a gate valve. This design essentially brings a wall down when the handle is turned that keeps the water at bay. A big problem with this is that if the handle doesn't get turned over a long period of time, it may get stuck and be difficult to turn when you need it to. It's best to test this valve immediately if you haven't in a long time to make sure that it's still working when you need it most.

If there are plastic pipes leading into your house, you're likely to have a ball valve at the shutoff point. These kinds of valves require you to turn the handle clockwise a quarter of the way to seal off water.

Should you discover that your valve isn't effectively turning off the flow of water into your house, contact at Gaithersburg plumbing service like John C. Flood to come inspect potential flaws in your home's plumbing.