You never know when disaster will strike. When it comes to your plumbing system, this can be as serious as water flooding your home at a rate of hundreds of gallons per minute.

You do your best to prevent plumbing disasters, but something bad could happen when you least expect it. For example, a pipe could freeze and burst during the cold winter months or a toilet could begin to overflow.

It’s important to know how to shut off the water to your house in a plumbing emergency. This way, if something bad does happen, you can take immediate and decisive action. Doing so can protect your home from extensive damage, thus saving you both time and money.

Where is the Main Water Shut Off in My House?

This is the question you need to answer. When you know where the main water shut off is located, you’ll know where to turn your attention in the event of an emergency (or if you simply want to stop water from flowing into your home).

For example, let’s say you live in an older Boston home (with an older plumbing system). You probably have an indoor meter that connects your home to the municipal water supply.

Immediately after the meter, you’ll find a large (hard to miss) shutoff valve. It looks similar to an outside hose connection or a lever.

Shutting off the water to your house is as simple as turning the valve clockwise. Doing this shuts off all water service to your home. Nothing can get in. Subsequently, if you have a leak, you only have to concern yourself with the water that’s currently in your system.

Tip: don’t wait until you have an emergency to practice shutting off the main valve. It’s better to find out if it doesn’t work before an emergency.

How to Shut Off Water to a Toilet, Sink, or Another Fixture

What’s the point of shutting off the water at the main valve when you can simply do so at the fixture?

For starters, this takes all the guesswork out of the equation. For example, you may think you know where the leak is coming from, but in your panic, you made a mistake.

Also, these individual valves have the tendency to wear out over time, often due to mineralization or sediment.

Once again, it’s good practice to inspect your valves regularly to ensure that they work properly. Should you find that a valve doesn’t work, you can repair it or replace it as a precaution.

Keep in mind that older Boston homes don’t always have an independent shut off valve at each fixture. Typically, there is one shut off that controls several fixtures, such as a toilet, sink, and shower.

If you don’t know where to find your shut off valve or come to realize that it’s not working properly, the professionals at Boston Standard Plumbing are available to help.

We can inspect your main and secondary shut off valves, tell you which ones are and aren’t working, and show you how to maintain them.

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