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By Matt Cwiokowski

March 14th, 2017 in

Leak Prevention

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How to Locate Your Water Main Shut Off Valve

The First Step Toward a Water Leak Prevention System

Knowing the location of your water main shut off valve is like owning a toilet plunger—you shouldn’t wait until you need it to realize you don’t have it. If you’re a new homeowner, then your water main is something you should definitely be aware of. Fortunately, this crash course will familiarize you with water main shut off valves and guide you through the process of locating and operating yours.

Homes connected to a city water system all have plumbing that funnels through one central point: the water main. In an ideal world, you’d never have to worry about this valve, but the unfortunate truth is that there are 14,000 water leak emergencies every day in the U.S. If your home springs a leak, you need to be prepared.

SEE ALSO: 10 Startling Statistics on Water Damage

By “be prepared,” what we’re really talking about is the ability to quickly located your water main and turn off the water to the home before that leaky pipe or overflowing washing machine floods the entire area, costing thousands in damages. So keep reading for a quick guide to water leak prevention!

Types of Valves

First, let’s look at the two main types of shut off valves.

The first type is a gate valve. This handle style can be tricky if you haven’t turned the water main off in many years—you may need some elbow grease to get it to start moving.

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The second style of valve, a ball valve, is designed to be easy to open and close. It’s great when you’re in a hurry (as most of us are when we’re trying to shut off all the plumbing in the home).

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Typical Locations

Every house is different, and there’s no completely standardized placement of water main shut off valves. However, you can easily narrow it down to a few key areas, depending on the style and layout of your home. Look in these places first:

  • Basement:Every house is different, and there’s no completely standardized placement of water main shut off valves. However, you can easily narrow it down to a few key areas, depending on the style and layout of your home. Look in these places first:
  • Under the Kitchen Sink:Since the kitchen is an area where plumbing is always needed, many builders tend to design the shut-off valve to be located underneath the sink. Push aside those cleaning products and check if you can see a valve.
  • Water Heater:Another key line to plumbing, the water heater is another popular choice because it’s usually out of sight, but still accessible if needed. Check on along the wall or plumbing above the water heater.

Is the Valve Open or Closed?

As convenient as it would be to have a clear “open” or “closed” indicator on each valve, the standard way to tell whether water is running freely through a ball valve is by looking at the position of the handle. If the handle is positioned 90 degrees from the pipe, then the water main is closed off. If it’s parallel to the pipe, it’s completely open. For gate valves, “righty tighty, lefty loosey” applies.

Smart Water Leak Prevention System

In the event of a water leak or burst pipe, manually shutting off your water main is a task that can save you thousands in water damage and a whole lot of hassle. However, what if it happens when you’re not home? You can’t always be there, ready to shut off the water at a moment’s notice.

Guardian by Dome is the answer to that problem. It’s a water leak prevention system that automatically shuts off your water main at the first sign of a leak. Here’s how it works:

Smart water leak sensors are placed throughout your homeA WiFi-based smart device is placed on top of your water main (no visit from the plumber or tools required)If a water leak starts, the smart device immediately turns off your water main, keeping water from flowing out of the burst pipe, broken appliance, etc.

It’s a simple, cost-effective solution that gives you peace of mind. Interested in trying out Guardian? Learn more about it here.

For other tips on using smart devices to keep your home at its best, follow us on Twitter or Facebook!