Getting it the habit of turning off your main water valve when you leave home for any amount of time, is a great way to prevent severe damage.
If the power goes out or your heating system goes bad, Your pipes are going to freeze. Turning off the water supply to the house will prevent more damage from flooding once they thaw out. Even in summer if a water line breaks or a toilet valve goes bad it can be disastrous.
Locating your main water shut off could be challenging, but something you really need to do.
Generally when you are looking for your water main indoors
you will have one of these types of valves.
A 1/4 turn ball valve with a lever type handle
or multi turn gate valve with a round handle.
Both valves will turn in the clockwise direction to close the valve and turn off the water supply.
If you have a well, the main shut off valve will be located close to your water storage tank.
If you have city water there will be a valve somewhere by the road for water company access, but there should also be one inside or close to the house near the water meter.
The location of your main water shut off will depend on a number of circumstances such as the type of foundation you have, the distance from the road, the climate you live in and sometimes just on the mood or thinking of the person who installed it.
In Cold Climates the meter and shut off valve will be indoors in a basement or utility closet, usually along the the wall facing the street or driveway.
In warmer climates it could also be in a garage, crawl space or outside.
Once you have located your main water shut off, it is a good idea to make sure that the valve is operating correctly before you need it when a water pipe springs a leak. Start by turning the valve off, then open a sink faucet and see if the water stops completely. One way to know for sure if it is completely off is to look at your water meter and see if the small dial is moving, if it is then you still have water leaking thru the valve and it should be repaired or replaced.
Head over to the Next Page for tips on locating the main water shut off.