Generally, you only turn off water to specific fixtures during plumbing repairs, but sometimes it’s necessary to use the main water shut-off valve to prevent costly water damage during an emergency. However, it’s surprising how many people don’t know where to find this important valve. Plumbing can be confusing, especially for older Seattle houses, so here are tips on locating your main water shut-off valve.
Standard Water Shut-Off Valve Locations
Ideally, water lines run directly from the water main to the shut-off valve with few or no detours. So, imagine the shortest path from the water main to your home and that’s where the water shut-off valve will likely be found.
- If your home has a basement, the shut-off valve will often be found near the front foundation wall, where the main water line enters the house.
- If your house has a crawlspace, the shut-off valve will typically be located near the water heater or sometimes under the kitchen sink. However, it might also be located in the crawlspace — particularly if you have an older home.
- For slab constructions, the general convention is to place the shut-off valve near the water heater or in the kitchen.
Valves in Unusual Places
Things get trickier if you have an older home that’s been added onto over the years. In this case, check the inspection report you received when you purchased your home (which should label the main shut-off valve). If you don’t have access to this report, perform your own home inspection. Look around the water heater, under the kitchen sink, and around the foundation wall. If you see an access panel that’s not the electrical box, that’s likely the water shut-off valve. Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled for an accessible pipe that has either a wheel or lever handle.
If you have any questions or concerns about your home plumbing, give Best Plumbing a call at (206) 785-2551. We’ll perform a home plumbing inspection, catch any issues before they become problems, and show you where to find important valves. We’ve been serving greater Seattle for more than 50 years!
Photo credit: pisauikan, available under Creative Commons CCO.