Any pitfalls to shutting off house water supply while working?


While prepping to install a new kitchen faucet, I went to shut off the water supply to the house since there were no valves under the sink. I mistakenly chose to turn the city-side (gate valve) supply off instead of the home-side (ball valve). When I started turning, water began leaking from the stem. Doing a quick google of this let me know that I needed to tighten the packing nut. Never having done this before, I started tightening the wrong thing, which caused THAT to start leaking as well.

This 'wrong thing' is a second opening at the bottom of the valve. It's supposed to be closed off with a cap that just screws onto the thread. Tightening it caused it to leak. At this point I called a plumber and he said I could take care of this myself and told me the packing nut was my problem and how to tighten it. He called this other thing at the bottom a petcock. After getting off the phone, I followed his instructions and was able to get the valve stem to stop leaking and get...

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The power to the softener is only used to run the backwash and recharge cycle. It will continue to operate without power, and will even continue to soften water for a while (though it does eventually need to be recharged, depending on the hardness of your water and how much you use).

Certain types of bypasses can be used as shut-off valves.

A custom-built one with 3 valves is easy: just close all valves.

There's a type with two valves that can also be used: close one (so the valves are in opposite directions).

Other types that only have one valve/control handle don't shut off the water flowing through them.

Separately, you should have a main-shutoff that is reliable. If you have a leak in your house it will likely cost much more than a valve will. Install a ball (quarter turn) valve, rather than a globe or gate valve -- very reliable, and will easily last at least a couple...

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By Bruce W. Maki, Editor

Simple But Important:

There are several reasons why every homeowner should know how to shut off the water supply:

Emergencies: If a major leak happens suddenly, you need to know how to shut off the water to prevent serious water damage.

When winterizing the plumbing system.

Precautions: It's a good idea to shut off the water supply if the house is going to be unoccupied for any length of time, even a period as short as a weekend. In any area with cold winters there is a risk of plumbing pipes freezing during cold weather. I once had a pipe fitting break while away, and having the water shut off prevented a potentially disastrous flood. Read more about this later...

Working On The Plumbing: If you're going to repair or modify the plumbing supply system, then you need to know how to shut off the system.

Every house with running water has either a private well or some sort of externally-supplied water...

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Look for a faucet/tap on the pipe that leads to your toilet cistern/tank. If you find a valve, first inspect the condition of the water supply valve which allows water to fill the toilet tank (shown by a red arrow in the photo). This is usually a 90 degree angle valve. Overtime due to minimal use, this valve can become very stiff and brittle. Forcing it closed, and then fully open again can cause weeping, leaks, and breakage. Carefully attempt turning the handle clockwise (without over-forcing) to turn off the water to the toilet. If you've successfully turned it without any problem, you can skip the remainder of these steps and continue with your repair job.


If you have an older system (pre-1970s) your toilet may not have a shut-off valve. Take the lid off the tank, and find the float (1). It will be a small container of air, designed to float on top of the water in the tank. When it floats to a certain height, the valve stops letting water into the...

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Just by the title of this post your already bored right? Well if you are a new homeowner or even if you’ve just never taken the time to locate your main water supply I want you to get un-bored right now.

What I am going to show you today can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I cannot stress enough how important it is to find out HOW TO SHUT OFF THE MAIN WATER SUPPLY TO YOUR HOUSE.

It’s like NUMBER 1 on the list of things you need to do today… I will tell you what NUMBER 2 will be in a minute.

Why is locating your main water valve and learning how to shut your main water supply so important?

a natural disaster could occur which would cause for you to immediately need to turn off the water supply a pipe could burst in or around your home and to prevent massive amounts of damage you would want to cut off the water if you are doing a home improvement that involves plumbing you would want to turn off the water supply you are notified by the...
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If a faucet is dripping, or a toilet is running, or if a leak develops in a refrigerator ice maker or dishwasher or washing machine--or any appliance supplied by water, your first and best choice is to shut off the water right at that fixture or appliance. By shutting the water off locally this way, other fixtures in your house can continue to operate unaffected while you take your time to make the repair.

The fixture shut-off valves will differ in appearance and location, but generally, they... will be very close to the fixture or appliance.

For sink faucets, look for the shutoff valves located below the sink, near where the water supply tubes run up to the tailpieces on the faucet. Any faucet that supplies both hot and cold water will have two valves--one for the hot water supply and one for the cold. For toilets, there will be a single shut-off valve (a toilet uses only cold water), usually located near the floor below the water supply valve on the bottom of the...
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Shut off the main valve

Shut off the water

Shut off the water supply to your entire home when you leave for overnight or longer.

Shutoff valve types

There are two types of main shutoff valves. Gate valves (top) are common in older homes. The valve closes when a wedge-shaped brass gate is lowered into a slot. Ball valves (bottom), which contain a pivoting stainless steel ball with a hole drilled through the center, are less prone to wear.

Figure A: Outdoor shutoff

In warmer climates, the main water shutoff is typically outside, attached to an exterior wall or in an accessible underground box.

Figure B: Indoor shutoff

In colder climates, the main water shutoff is typically in the basement.

Shutting off the main valve that controls all the water for your home is the best protection against catastrophic water damage. Everyone in your home should know where the main water shutoff valve is located so they can stop the...

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Shutoff valve issue and shutting off hot water supply...

This is a two-part question:

I "was" going to replace our dishwasher this morning, but when I went to shutoff the hot water shutoff valve under the sink, water started spraying out around the stem. I continued to close it, but even when fully closed, it was slowly dripping water. This was after I had shut off the water to the house.

I've read this is not uncommon, since shutoff valves don't get "exercised" too much and the washer fails over time. So, my first question is, is it better to buy a valve stem repair kit, or replace the whole valve?

Also, when I shut off water to the house and opened up several faucets, I noticed the hot water side continued to slowly drip, so I figured I needed to do something at the hot water heater itself.

If you'll look at the pics at the link below, you'll see a single shutoff valve. From feeling the pipes, the...

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Now is typically the time of year when people are taking off for vacation. Not all homeowners think about the possibility of their home flooding while they are away, so we want to tell you how to avoid that nightmare.

Having a pipe burst is a very real possibility any time of the year, but the damage can be even more extensive when left unchecked for a long period of time. We encourage customers to shut the water off to the house when they are travelling, even for short weekend trips. The main water shut-off valve can be found in various places in the home, depending on the style of construction (basement, crawlspace or concrete slab).

If you’re not sure where the shut-off valve is, ask us to show you where this is located and how it operates. Most importantly, check to make sure that the valve actually works!

If traveling during the winter, it is also a good idea to drain the water lines down after the water is shut off to the house in case the...

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The need to shut off a main household water supply may present itself in various ways.

Here’s a few examples:
>Leaking water pipe
>Frozen water pipe
>Leaving property unattended for extended period
>Necessary maintenance on piping and/or appliances

One of the first things a new homeowner, renter or other occupant should do is familiarize themselves with the property in general, and especially with all of its “system controls”, including:
>Main water supply shutoff
>Main gas supply shutoff
>Main power supply shutoff
>Furnace or HVAC controls and emergency shutoffs
>Any other controls
Once you’ve become familiar with the locations of these controls, it’s a good idea to affix a highly-visible label to the control-devices, identifying them as the main shutoffs for that particular system. This will be helpful if the occasion arises where someone who may be unfamiliar needs to locate them in a hurry.
It is...

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How to turn off the water supply to sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures in your home

LightWaveMedia /

Turn off water to sinks and toilets at the small valve beneath them. Off is clockwise.

When a home’s water supply system leaks or a repair to one of the plumbing fixtures is needed, you’ll have to shut off the water. It’s best to do this at the valve that’s closest to the problem. That way, the rest of the house will still have a functioning water supply.

Shut Off Plumbing Fixtures

Most water-using fixtures and appliances have some type of shut-off valve that allows you to stop the water supply at the fixture without shutting off the water to the entire house.


Lever valve controls supply to water heater. Note the red main supply valve in the background.

To shut off a faucet, toilet, or similar fixture, first look for a stop valve that’s connected to the water supply tubes, located directly under the...

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How To Shut Off Your Water Supply
In order to begin fixing any plumbing problem, you will want to shut off the water supply to the area to avoid any floods. Usually, items that need fixing have their own shut-off valves. Your sink and your toilet probably have them beneath their plumbing fixtures. If for some reason you can't turn this valve off or if there is a burst pipe somewhere in the bowels of your house, you will need to turn off your main water supply. This is usually located in the basement or outside your house, near the gas or electic meter.

The main shut-off valve for your house looks like a big round wheel. This is attached to a piece of pipe that leads underground. If you live in a colder climate, you may have a basement or crawlspace-installed system. In this case, the shut-off may be located inside the basement wall, but you should still be able to find the shut-off wheel easily. Turn the wheel clockwise in order to turn off the water supply to your...

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The water supply for any home comes from one of three places. Most homes receive their water from a water utility, the rest get their water from wells or storage tanks. The municipal supply provides the water pressure, but other homes may rely on gravity or pumps to produce water pressure. After that, the residential water supply system is about the same in all homes.

Most homes in the U.S. receive municipal water and so the first part of the system is the water main, typically located at the edge of the property. The water main provides a main valve that allows the shut off of the entire water supply for a home. It is important to know the location of this valve and how to operate it in the event of a burst pipe or other plumbing emergency that requires you to stop the flow of water. The water main typically also includes a water meter, with which the utility company can monitor your usage and bill you accordingly.

After the meter, a water line of 3/4" or larger pipe...

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Hi all!
we will be going on an extended business trip and were thinking about shutting the water off. If we shut it down at the main house shut off will that be enough to stop any leaks (would drain system and put RV anti freeze down p-traps, toilet to stop stink from coming back up) or do we need to have the city we live in shut the water off at the main? We have never been gone more then a week so we are not sure what would be the best way to not have any "surprises" when we return. Thanks for your help!

We just turn off the water at each toilet before we leave.

Your city may charge you to shut water on and off at the main. You should inquire about it.

Unless you have extremely funky utility set-up there is not any advantage to having the water turned off by the municipality. The most common spot for water to "spring a leak" is at the clothes washing machine...

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Every homeowner should know how to turn off the main water supply in the event of an emergency. After a natural disaster--a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake --you may need to shut down the water immediately to prevent additional damage from flooding. In an unexpected, unseasonable deep freeze, you may want to shut off the water supply to unwrapped, un-insulated plumbing to prevent bursting. And, it's helpful to know how to shut off the water supply to your shower, toilet, sinks, or outdoor sprinklers that require repair work.

Shutting off Your Water Supply: The Basics

The simplest way to shut off water supply to your plumbing is at the main house valve. While there are shut off valves inside the home for many fixtures, they may not be out in the open. You may want to ask a plumber to come out and show you how to access the necessary valves for turning off the supply. The main valve typically is located outdoors where a pipe is fed into your home via the water...

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This is one of the better posts to this thread. Run some hot water, the tank fills with cold, which expands as it heats. The excess volume has to go somewhere. In the past, it either went back through the main valve if on a public water system or back into the pressure tank if on a well. In most places now, code require a back flow preventer, preventing water from going out the inlet. This has lead to many leaky pressure relief valves. In many cases, the city installed the backflow preventer at the meter without telling the homeowner. The solution is an expansion tank connected between the tank and any valve. You may already have one. If so, shutting the main valve off will have very little effect on the water heater.

I just got back from vacation. As I came in, I flipped the breaker for the pump on and turned the valve on the water heater from pilot to on. Once inside, I plugged in the computer. Yes, I have both a whole house surge protector and one at the...

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