One minute you are relaxing on the couch, the next you realize that water is flowing onto the floor and you have a major leak at hand. The first instinct for most homeowners is to start looking for a licensed plumber in their area.
This is a natural reaction, but cutting off the water should be priority number one. Acting quickly can minimize the damage done by a water leak and it starts with knowing where your shutoff valves are located.
As your home ages, plumbing leaks become inevitable. These can be a result of poor maintenance, age, accidental damage, or otherwise. Because of this, knowing how to shut off your water supply should be one of the first things you learn when moving into a new home.
Resources are available, such as your local water authority office, but what happens when your bathroom is flooding at 2 AM and every second counts? Emergency plumbing service providers are a great resource and the residents of Ellis County turn to the Dial 1 Johnson
team for all of their Midlothian plumbing needs.
What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency
Do you remember the old Boy Scout motto, “be prepared”? For homeowners, being prepared is the first step when a plumbing disaster occurs. Knowing where to go and how to cut off your home’s water supply could literally save you thousands of dollars and the heartache of a major home renovation.
Locating the Main
Every home is equipped with the main shut-off valve that will completely disconnect the home from the city’s water supply. Typically, this is found outside of the home near the water meter. There is not a set place that the main will be located, as every home is different and it can vary from one city to another.
Traditionally, mains are near the edge of your property but are not always as obvious as you would think. Water lines are underground. So chances are, your main shutoff valve will be below ground level. Look for a covering on the ground, similar to a small manhole cover. These can be made of metal or plastic and will usually have the word “water” printed across the panel.
Should you run into issues, you have a few choices. Neighbors in your area are a great resource, as they will likely have the main located in a similar place on their property. For instance, a city that runs water lines behind a neighborhood’s homes will place mains at each property in the backyard. If you are more comfortable dealing with a professional, your local water authority can likely walk you through it based on property records. If all else fails, consult with a local plumber to troubleshoot.
Turning Off Your Water
Once you have located the main, the next step is to disconnect the water supply. While that might seem simple enough, it is important to understand that not all mains can be disconnected by hand. Some have a simple knob or spigot-style handle that can be turned by hand but that will not be the case for every home.
If your valve cannot be turned by hand, there is a good chance that you will need a tool to help you with the process. Much of the time, stubborn valves can be turned with a simple pipe wrench. Just take care to avoid applying too much pressure as this can break the valve, causing a major water issue.
Some homes will find that a special tool, called a water key, is needed to engage the shutoff valve. These look like long-handled plumbing wrenches and can be picked up at any big box hardware store.
Get Familiar With Other Shutoff Valves in Your Home
Understanding how to completely disconnect your home’s water supply is a great first step, but there are other shutoff valves located within your home that are just as important. Take the time to learn where the shutoff valves are located for each of the following home fixtures.
Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks
Every sink in your home will have one or two shutoff valves located underneath the fixture. More often than not, these are placed in a cabinet, providing homeowners easy access in the event of a leak. In the event of an isolated leak, cutting off the water to a single sink can allow you to maintain access to the rest of your home.
A toilet leak can be both frustrating and dangerous. Toilets remove human waste from the home, and a leak can cause bacteria-laden water to get on the floor, exposing you and your family to a host of issues. For most toilets, you will find the shutoff valve located behind the toilet. Follow the water line that is connected to the tank and you will see a small knob that might look like the ones under your sinks.
Showers and Bathtubs
One of the more complicated shutoff valves in your home will be connected to your shower. Rarely will you find these valves exposed, as they are almost always behind a wall. Some can be accessed by removing the shower hardware, but in many cases, the best practice when a shower is leaking is to disconnect the main line and call a licensed Midlothian plumbing professional.
Homes today are filled with appliances that use water to make our lives a little easier. This could include your dishwasher, refrigerator and washing machine. Leaks in these appliances might not be apparent unless they are in use.
For dishwashers and refrigerators, it is common for their water supply to originate from nearby sinks. Lines will run off of the sink’s shutoff valve, making it easy to access when leaks arise. Other models might have a small secondary shutoff located on the back of the appliance.
Finding an Emergency Plumber Midlothian, TX
Where to locate and how to disconnect your home’s water supply when an emergency pops up is knowledge every homeowner should be equipped with. Once the issue is under control, the next step is to turn to a team of professionals that can minimize the damage caused and get your plumbing system back up and running.
The Dial 1 Johnson team has been helping homeowners in Ellis County for over 50 years. Covering everything from general plumbing maintenance to 24-hour emergency repairs, our team of licensed plumbing professionals is standing by to assist. Contact our team today at 469-518-4211 or visit our website to schedule an appointment that is convenient for you.