Know about your water shut off valves

water shut off valve tap

It’s not hard to imagine the sorts of reasons you might have for wanting to shut off the water supply in your home. You might be doing a little bit of work on a tap or appliance or you might have a leak and need to shut it down in an emergency. Especially in the case of emergency it’s important to know all about your water supply valves, where they are, how they work and whether they work. Every property is different and there’s no advice I can give here that will fully satisfy all situations but I hope in this article I can be of at least some help to you.

Being able to shut off supply of water and/or gas to your home is very important. If a water pipe starts leaking heavily and you absolutely need it to stop right away, turning off the mains water will do it but you may have other options. Finding your shut off valves can be easier said than done sometimes. Through my years as a plumber in Tamworth, I’ve seen all kinds of configurations in all kinds of homes. I can give you some general advice & hopefully you’ll be able to work it out for your home. If you have a big property or want to make it easy for a visiting plumber, you could mark the positions on a diagram of your home. Check this article out if you’re also unsure of how to cut off your gas supply.

A typical home should have an inside shut off tap or valve and an external stop tap located outside. For everyday home use it’s the internal stop tap you are looking for. The external stop tap is usually only for use by your water company or plumbing professional but it’s a good idea to find out where it is. Should there be an emergency it’ll move things along a bit quicker if you can tell the responding professional exactly where it is.

Finding your water shut off valve/stop tap

Water shutoff tap or valve

Sometimes the internal shut off tap is hard to recognise, in this home it’s literally a tap-head. Careful trial & error can help you work out the unusual ones.

Your home may have several water shut off valves. Typically you will find a valve both before and after your water meter however there’s usually an easier way to shut the water off.

Often your mains water will enter your home, perhaps near the kitchen and there’ll be another shutoff valve or tap that provides an easier way to shut off water to your home. So try to start with your water meter, note the valves you find there and their state of repair. See if you can follow the pipes and/or roughly estimate where it enters your home. It’s likely to duck into the house somewhere near a plumbed in room like the kitchen or a downstairs bathroom.

If you can find where the water enters the house and find those pipes on the inside, you’ll likely find a valve with a tap-like screw top or perhaps a handle. This is likely to be the internal shut off valve for your home water.

In some cases a water valve under your kitchen sink may only isolate water from one part of your home, if you’re not sure you could turn it off and test the water around your home.

Individual appliances, toilets, basins and your boiler’s water system may or should have shutoff valves. These may be quite simple in design & depending on the sort of valve in use they may offer no easy to way to turn them off without a screwdriver or wrench.

Inspecting and marking down you water shutoff valves on a diagram or list can be very helpful indeed and help you discover issues and shortcomings with your water system.

Need to upgrade or improve your water shut off valve?

If you live in my plumbing service area of Tamworth and surrounding towns, I’d be happy to come out and take a look at your water system. I can give you expert advice on how to make it safer, more reliable and easier to operate. From simple valve replacements to big upgrades like a boiler installation, at SC Plumbing we do quality work and are both reliable and reasonably priced. You don’t have to take my word for it, check out my plumbing reviews.

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