The Importance of a Safety Shut off Valve | terrys plumbing

The Importance of a Safety Shut off Valve

There are a few areas of a home plumbing system that are vital for homeowners to know and be aware of, and perhaps the single most important example is the main water shut-off valve. Likely your first course of action in many cases of plumbing emergencies, the main water shut-off valve has helped numerous homeowners avoid major plumbing disasters in their homes, and might do the same for you.

In this blog we cover where the valve may be, and why you should have one in case of emergencies.


So, why is this valve so important? Well, because it’s the only way you can shut off water to all fixtures in the home simultaneously if a major plumbing emergency is taking place–such as a burst sewer line. Being able to have immediate access to your main water shut-off valve during such an event can save you from thousands of dollars in damage to your home. But if you don’t know where this valve is, you risk letting such an emergency continue to escalate. For these reasons, all homeowners should know the location of the main shut-off valve.

Locating Main Shut Off Valve

Here are some basic steps for finding your main water shut-off valve if you don’t know its current location:

  • Generally, check near the perimeter of the home, not the center. Also keep in mind and these valves are always on ground floors or in basements.
  • In most cases, water lines run from the water main to the shut-off valve directly. If you know where your water main is, find the shortest path from it to the home, and you’ve likely found the valve.
  • If this doesn’t work, check the inspection report from the home inspection when you moved in. It should have the shut-off valve labeled.

What Type of Valve Works?

In most cases, you can use a ball valve or compression valve. A ball valve uses a seal that will keep the valve open or closed on a quarter turn. The shutoff design is more durable and can last for years. A compression valve requires a compression washer to keep the water moving. You would have to use multiple turns when closing off the valve. The compression format is cheaper to find, though there is a risk that it may fail or possibly leak.

When Should You Use Your Valve?

You will need to use your valve in various situations:

  • There might be a crack in your tub or toilet that needs repair. Your shutoff valve will stop the flow of water before more can leak out.
  • You can also use the valve on a sink to control issues where there is a crack, or a seal is not working.
  • Cases, where the water source that links to your home is at risk of harm, could also require you to activate the valve. The valve would prevent potentially dangerous water from getting in your home. You can turn the valve off when the water is safe to use once again.

Maintaining the Valve

You might need to get your valve serviced on occasion to ensure it’s safe to use. The purpose of this is to check on the metal fixture occasionally to ensure that the valve is reliable to use, and to note how well the valve can turn without harm.

To learn more about how you can get your shutoff valves maintained, give Terry’s Plumbing a call today. We can help you figure out how well your plumbing setup is working and can also help prevent any issues that may develop.