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How to Turn Off Your Water Main

There’s a good chance that you’ll have to turn off the water in your home at some point. And, for many homeowners, it can be a conundrum as easy as it is!

While it’s important to do this quickly if there’s a burst pipe, routine maintenance will still require you to turn off your water main.

Before a leak occurs, be sure you know how to do this simple household task so you can be prepared. Be sure to reach out to your local emergency plumbing professionals if you need assistance.

How To Turn Off The Water Main

Knowing how to turn off your water main is essential in case of emergencies, such as a burst pipe or major plumbing issue. Here are the steps to follow to turn off your water main:

Find the Valve

It may not be the answer you’re looking for, but there’s no one place a valve will be. It will depend on a number of things about your home.

But if you’re wondering how to find a water main for emergency plumbing or maintenance, there are some common places to look.

Start in your garage, laundry room or basement and look for a ball valve or gate valve. If you can’t find it in any of these locations, head outside to look at your exterior wall or close to your water meter.

Water splashing down

Turn Off the Water

The good part about this next step is that it’s pretty simple. Whatever type of valve you’re dealing with, you’ll just have to turn off the water main to your house.

For a gate valve, you’ll want to turn it in a clockwise motion until you cannot turn it anymore. This will signal that the water supply has been shut off.

A ball valve is a little bit different. If this is the style of your shutoff valve, you’ll still want to turn it clockwise. However, you’ll only have to turn it 90 degrees.

Run the Water Out

There’s going to be water left in your pipes once you’ve turned off the supply and you’ll need to get it out.

Go to a sink in your home’s lowest level and turn on the taps. Be sure you do this on your lowest floor to ensure that everything in the house drains down from the pipes on other floors. This is an important step in how to turn off your water main properly!

It’s also important not to run both your hot and cold taps. This will help you avoid water leak problems that can come about from plumbing service or time away from your home. 

A man's hand turning on a faucet

Turn It On!

When you’ve returned from your vacation or completed plumbing work, it’s time to turn the water back on.

Whether it’s a ball valve or a gate valve, all you have to do is turn it counterclockwise to get the water flowing

It’s important to turn on the water in your home and run it for a few minutes. It will take longer for water to reach your faucet since the pipes are drained, but running it will ensure it’s running as it should.


For the most part, your home and plumbing system function as they should day after day. However, dealing with a burst pipe isn’t the best time to figure out how to turn off your water main. That’s why knowing where it is and how you can cut off the supply is key.

If you’re looking for a residential plumbing professional for some routine plumbing maintenance, contact the experts at Plumbing Squad at (866) 324-9553 or reach us on our website.

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