Where is The Main Water Inlet in Your Home and Why you Need to Know!

November 17th, 2020

Unlike turning off a sink faucet or closing the water tap located next to your washing machine, there may be times when you need to completely stop the flow of water coming into your home from your main water line. Do you know:

  • what is a main water inlet?
  • where your main water inlet valve is located in your home?
  • why should you turn off your main water supply?
  • how to turn off your main water line in an emergency?

The plumbing specialists at Plomberie Richard et Fils in L’Île-Perrot, Quebec explain the WHAT, WHERE, WHY and HOW for the main water inlet in your home so that you are prepared in the event that you need to control the water coming into your home.

What is a main water inlet?

Your main water inlet is the connection between your home and the main water supply. Whether you are connected to municipal water supply or get your water from a well or cistern, your home will be equipped with a valve to turn on and off your main water supply. The valve is most commonly found in the open position so that when you turn on a faucet or flush the toilet, the water supply is available and constant.

Where is my main water valve?

The interior valve for your main water supply line to your home is usually located in the basement or crawlspace near the exterior wall that is closest to the street or entrance to your property. If you are unable to visually find the valve, your home inspection report from when you purchased the home will tell you exactly where to look.

All properties also have an exterior shut off valve for the main water supply but it is usually the municipality that handles the operation of this valve which is sunk into your front lawn or sometimes embedded in your front sidewalk or driveway.

Why would I need to touch my main water shut off valve?

The main water shut off valve is used in any situation where you need to stop the flow of water from your main water line into your home.

  • During plumbing repair or maintenance of your hot water tank, toilets, sinks, washing machines, etc. it is sometimes helpful to turn off the main water line in addition to the relevant fixture’s supply valve.
  • When a home is going to be vacant for a length of time, especially in extreme cold climates the main water supply to a home should be shut off to avoid burst pipes.
  • In emergency situations like flooding from burst hot water tanks or frozen pipes, the main water shut off is used to stop the inflow of more unwanted water.

How do I turn off the main water inlet in my home?

There are two different types of valves used for main water supply lines in homes and they are operated differently:

  1. A knife style valve has a straight and flat handle (like a butter knife). When the handle is in the open position, it will run parallel to the water pipe that it is attached to. The valve is closed when the handle is perpendicular at a 90 degree angle to the water pipe. A metal stopper prevents the valve from turning in any direction other than the quarter turn to open and close the valve so there’s really nothing to remember about which direction you need to turn the valve to quickly shut off the water.
  2. A round handle valve looks like a garden hose faucet on the exterior of your home and needs to be twisted several times to completely close or open the valve. Turning the water valve clockwise (to the right) will close the valve, and counter-clockwise (to the left) will open the valve. A tried-and-true way to remember which direction to turn a valve (or a screwdriver for that matter!) is “Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty!!”

Knowing how to turn off the water in your home using your main water supply line valve is an important piece of being a responsible homeowner. We hope that you’ll never need to use it (unless you’re planning a fantastic vacation, that is!). In the event that you’re not sure about whether or not you should be turning off your main water supply, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team here at Plomberie Richard et Fils. We’re here to help!

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