Oh, no! Water is running from somewhere beneath the cabinets and ruining your new kitchen floor. HELP!
You can prepare for a crisis like this by knowing how to turn off the water to your home. You should locate the main water valve, know how to operate it, and tag it. Everyone in the household should walk through this drill.
Where is the valve? You don’t know? In warm climates, pipes don’t need to be protected from freezing, and the water may enter your house from the exterior with an exposed valve. Take a look at the illustration.
For us lucky folks in cold climates, supply piping is buried several feet in the ground; the pipe enters the home through the basement or crawl space.
To find your supply line, look on the street side of your home first. You can also trace the pipe from the water heater to the cold water source. Remember, “right is tight” (off) with older valves. For ball valves, as shown in the illustration: when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, the water is off. If the valve is rusted or corroded, have a plumber test it and replace it if necessary.
By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It