Minimize Water Damage by Turning Off Water

shut-off-water-to-minimize-damageKnow where Water Valves are Located when Emergencies Occur

One of the most important things a homeowner should know about their home is where the water valves are located in case an emergency occurs. When a pipe breaks inside or outside a home, knowing how to prevent water from leaking through a crack is essential to avoid additional water damage. Most individuals have noticed a valve underneath a toilet’s tank on the wall but may not realize that turning this knob to the right (clockwise) will turn off the water and turning it back to the left (counter-clockwise) releases water.

How to Turn off a Water Valve

Because water valve knobs are rarely turned, the devices are often stuck because there is a buildup of corrosion on the threads. To get a firmer grip on a stuck valve, wrap a cloth around it before attempting to move it. Another excellent way to turn a tight valve is by wearing rubber gloves that are commonly kept in the kitchen to use while washing dishes. Of course, every homeowner should also have a toolbox with basic hand-tools, including wrenches of various sizes that can grip a valve to turn it off.

safety-firstRemain Safe While Turning Off a Water Valve

Before trying to turn off a water valve, first make sure that there are no wet electrical wires or appliances in the area to avoid a shock injury. If water is deep in a flooded area, then do not attempt to reach a valve in that location. There are several valves in a home, and in addition to the ones located near faucets, toilets and water heaters, there is a main valve that can turn off the water to an entire home instead of just one fixture.

How to Find a Home’s Water Valves

Homeowners with a blueprint of a home can determine where all of the water valves are located quickly, but without a blueprint, it is necessary to inspect a building to verify where the shutt-offs are located. Painting each water valve a bright color can be helpful. Here are the places where water valves are located inside and outside a home:

  • Under sinks in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms
  • Above and next to water heaters
  • Near a washing machine
  • Behind a dishwasher
  • Inside utility rooms
  • In cellars, basements or crawl spaces
  • Outside near a building’s foundation
  • Next to a garage’s exterior

Adults and teenagers in a home should know where the valves are located, and creating a map of the locations is recommended. Listen carefully when turning a fixture’s valve to make sure the water stops flowing before shutting off the main valve.

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