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How To Shut Off Your Main Water Supply

21 April

Plumbing problems are commonplace in Australian households. But some of them threaten to inflict severe damage and repair bills!

Not only that, but your main water supply valve also comes into play when conducting regular plumbing repairs or maintenance works. Nevertheless, knowing your main water supply valve and how to turn it off can help minimise damage, whether it’s a plumbing emergency or not.

That’s why we are here to tell you all about when you should switch off the main water supply to your home or building and how to do it. Further, we have some tips and tricks to help you identify the valve. So, dive in!

Why It’s Important To Shut Off Your Main Water Supply?

Turning off your main water supply isn’t common, like turning off your taps when you’re done using water. However, there are certain situations when you need to shut off the main water supply to prevent water waste and subsequent damage. These include:

Water Main With Red Tap Hose

1. Leaks Or Bursts

If you have noticed a leaking or burst pipe anywhere in your home, the first step should be to turn off the main water supply to prevent further damage and, potentially, flooding. But there may still be water in the pipes, which should be flushed out to remove the water pressure completely.

2. Repairs Or Installation

You should always switch off the main water supply when performing emergency plumbing repairs or installations. Otherwise, gushing water from the faucet or pipe can damage the fixture you’re working on and cause flooding and even injuries.

3. Water Heater Maintenance

Whether you have a with-tank or tankless water heater, turn off the water supply to keep the tank or pipes from filling up with water when performing routine maintenance.

4. Extended Absence

It’s a good idea to turn off the main water supply if you are away from home for more than a few days. This is a preventative measure against a sudden increase in water pressure that may cause a water leak or pipe burst.

How To Locate The Main Water Supply?

The location of the main water supply valve will depend on the type of building and the placement of the water meter boxes. As such, you can look at these places to detect the valve:

  • Near the water meter located at the front or near the street
  • On the sidewalk
  • In the basement or crawl space, where the water lines enter the home
  • Near the water heater in a utility space or closet

In most cases, the valve is securely placed inside a box with a plastic or metal lid.

Now, if your water meter is located outside in a utility box, stand on top of it and draw an imaginary line from that point to the closest point on your home’s exterior boundary. Since water lines entering your home are typically ‘short distance,’ the point where the line meets the boundary generally houses the main water supply valve.

Further, if you live in an apartment, unit, or townhouse, there may not be a water meter but a shut-off valve somewhere on the perimeter. Ask your apartment or unit manager about its location if you need to shut it off.

How To Shut Off The Main Water Supply?

Before telling you about the steps involved in switching off the main indoor supply valve, let us quickly take you through the tools you will need:

  • An adjustable spanner or wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • An empty container to drain water

Turning Off Water Supply

Step 1- Remove The Meter Box Cover Or Plate

Place the screwdriver on the mounting hole and turn it anti-clockwise to lift the plate and drain the water to reach the valve.

Step 2- Turn Off The Valve

Once you drain out the water in the meter box, you should be able to see the main valve, which will either be a ball valve or an isolation tap. In ideal cases, you should be able to turn off the valve with your bare hands by simply turning it clockwise.

However, in case it’s jammed, grab the adjustable spanner and screwdriver and insert the latter in the hole of the spanner. Now, put the open end of the shifter over the valve and turn the screwdriver clockwise until it is completely switched off.

Step 3- Empty The Water Lines

Open the facets of your home to empty the remaining water in the pipes. And there you have it- your main water supply has been switched off.

When To Call A Professional Plumber?

Although switching off the main water valve can be done DIY, a worn-out or leaking valve will invariably be difficult to work with. And applying too much pressure on it can cause severe damage to the main line of your home. So, if your main water valve is rusted, corroded, or damaged, call a professional plumber to replace it immediately.

How to Shut Off Your Main Water Supply: Protect Your Home from Water Damage

Knowing how to shut off your main water supply is essential for any homeowner. Whether you’re dealing with a plumbing emergency or just need to make repairs, turning off the water quickly and safely can prevent severe damage to your home. Following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can shut off your main water supply with confidence and peace of mind.

You can contact trained and licensed plumbers like our Gold Coast plumbing team for all your main water supply valve-related issues. We offer emergency and maintenance services to help resolve your plumbing issues at affordable rates. So, give us a call whenever you need a plumber on the Gold Coast.