In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to
stop the flow of water quickly. To do
this, you and each member of your family
needs to know the location of the shutoff
valve for every fixture and appliance,
as well as the main shutoff valve for
the house, and how they operate.
the emergency involves a specific
fixture or appliance, first look for
its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise
to shut off the water to that fixture
or appliance only.
valve is usually located underneath
a fixture such as a sink or a toilet,
or behind an appliance, such as a
clothes washer, at the point where
the water supply pipe (or pipes) connects
the problem is not with a particular
fixture or appliance, or if there's
no shutoff valve for the fixture or
appliance, use the main shutoff valve
to turn off the water supply to the
find the main shutoff valve on the
inside or outside of your house where
the main water supply pipe enters.
cold climates, look just inside the
foundation wall in the basement or
the valve clockwise to shut it off.
Tip If you need a wrench to turn the
valve, keep one, specially labeled
near the valve so it's handy.
the main shutoff valve itself is defective
and needs to be repaired, call your
water company; they can send someone
out with the special tool that's required
to shut off the water at the street
before it reaches the valve.
Leaking or Broken Pipe
Turn off the main shutoff valve to prevent
water damage. Make temporary repairs to
stop the leak. The pipe will have to be
replaced as soon as it's convenient to
A Stopped-Up Sink
Shut off any faucet or appliance (such
as dishwasher) that's draining into the
sink. Unclog the sink using a plunger
or snake. DON'T use a chemical drain cleaner
if the blockage is total.
A Faucet That Won't Shut Off
Immediately turn off the water at the
fixture shutoff valve underneath the sink.
If there's no valve there, turn off the
main shutoff valve. Repair the faucet
or, if necessary, replace it.
A Steaming Hot Water Faucet
Open all the hot water faucets to relieve
the overheated hot water heater. Turn
off the gas or electric supply to the
heater. Let the faucets run until cold
water flows from them (this indicates
the water in the heater is no longer overheated).
Close them. Call in a professional to
make any necessary repairs to the heater's
thermostat and pressure relief valve.