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Home Plumbing Problems Tips

In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to stop the flow of water quickly before it seeps into floors and walls. To do this, you and each member of your family need to know the location of shut-off valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house, and how the shutoffs operate.

If the emergency involves a specific fixture or appliance, look for its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to that fixture or appliance only. The valve is usually located underneath a fixture such as a sink or a toilet, or behind an appliance such as clothes washer, at the point where the water supply pipe (or pipes) connect to it.

If the problem is not with a particular fixture or appliance - or if there is no shutoff valve for the appliance or fixture - use the main shutoff valve for the house to turn off the water. You'll find the main shutoff valve on either the inside or outside of your house where the main water supply enters. (In cold climates, the valve is usually just inside the foundation wall in the basement or crawl space.) Turn the valve clockwise to shut it off.

If you need a wrench to turn the valve, keep one, specially labeled, near the valve so it is always handy.

In the main shutoff valve itself is defective and needs to be repaired, you'll need to call your water utility; they can send someone out with the special tool that's required to shut off the water at the street before it reaches your main valve. Then you can go ahead and fix or replace your cutoff valve.

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