Home Water Systems Shut Off
Learning to shut off your home’s water system shouldn’t require an emergency. You may be upgrading a fixture, leaving on vacation, or want to know more about your home. Not to mention, it’s a lot less stressful finding your water shutoff without water pouring from your second story floor onto your kitchen table. Water leaks, pipe bursts and maintenance will always be a part of owning a home. Knowing where the water lines are located and how to turn them on and off can save you a large repair bill and give you peace of mind.
Find the Main Shut-off Valve
It would seem no two homes have the same water pipe layout and your home may be unique when finding the main shut-off valve. Because most Saskatchewan homes are built on basements, you can typically find this important valve in your basement near the water heater. Most valves will be a ball valve (with a lever) or a gate valve (which looks like a circular spigot). If you can’t find the valve here, look around the basement for signs of water pipes coming in through the walls or the floor.
Your main water shut-off valve controls water flow from the municipal supply lines or from a well pressure system. When you close this valve it will shut off your homes water pressure. These valves are commonly corroded and stiff when you attempt to close them. Take your time. Exercise the valve by moving it incrementally back and forth until it loosens a bit. Exercise the valve until you are able to fully close it. If at this point you notice a water drip from the valve, it may be compromised and you should call a professional plumber to address the issue before proceeding further. Because valves deteriorate over time, it’s advised you annually “exercise” the valves in your home. This keeps them free from corrosion, moving freely, and you can spot an issue that requires preventative maintenance.
With the main water valve shut off, choose a water faucet (like a sink or tub fixture) at the lowest level in your home and open it slowly. This will drain all the water in the pipes above this fixture. Open both the hot and the cold water. Once the water begins to flow, find a sink or faucet at the highest point in your home and open both the hot and cold taps here as well.
When making repairs on a specific fixture, it may not be necessary to shut off water to your entire home. You only need to isolate the one fixture. Most fixtures like a toilet or sink will have a designated water supply line with a ball or gate valve. Closing this valve will ensure you have stopped the water supply to this fixture, but not the rest of the home.
With the water supply turned off, and the system fully drained from the lines in your home, you are ready to begin repairs, or hit the road on a long vacation!