Finding water shut off valve for house.

17 Replies

I am trying to located the main water shut off for the house. I need to replace the catridge and or washer for the shower faucet. I cannot seem to locate the water shut off. I would simply use the shut off for the shower if i could find one.

Its a one level house no basement. I went to the water heater and turned a valve. The hot water that was dripping out of the shower stopped leaking. BUt I still have cold water.

I looked around outside and couldn't seem to find anything.

Just looking for some help from more experienced guys.

also when i turn the valve that makes the hot water go off, if i turn it back on i hear rushing water. Its right on my water heater. would that just be the gas cut off?

These can be really tricky to find. Find the water meter. Its somewhere between the water meter and the hot water heater. If the lines are exposed, work back from the hot water heater along the cold water line (the one with the valve you shut off) toward the water meter. Its often just inside the house, so it you can follow that line back until it exits the house or disappears into the ground, you should find a shutoff valve. If the pipes are hidden in the walls, you'll have to start guessing based on the location. May be hidden in a closet. Should be reasonably accessible, but maybe behind a panel.

If all else fails, call the water company. They have a shutoff near the meter. I've done that several times while working on my sprinklers that tap into the line before the house shutoff.

Jon

Nick,
There will be (or, at least should be) a valve on the cold water inlet for the hot water heater. When you shut that off, you won't get any hot water out of our faucets, but you will still get cold water. That valve allows you to drain or replace the hot water heater without having to completely shut off the water supply.

When you shut it off, and then open faucets, you'll depressurize the hot water piping. If you close the faucets and open the shut off, you'll get some water flow as it repressurizes. When you open the faucets, you'll probably get some spurting and air as the air that entered the depressurized lines gets blown out.

Somewhere there is (or, at least should be) a main water shut off.

Jon

hmmm would it be possible to simply turn off that valve and then change the cartridge for the bathroom fixture, or if I pulled the cartridge out of the hot water fixture would ti leak cold water.

If the cartridge is just the hot water one, then you can work on it with just the hot water heater shutoff closed. If you need to change the cold one, or if its a single handle faucet, then no dice. Sounds like the leak is on the hot side, from your original description.

Jon

Yeah. Bassically Its a 3 fixture setup. 1 for hot 1 for cold and 1 for the shower activation.

So. . . I should be able to just turnt he hot water shut off on the ater heater which turns off the hot water to the house. Change the cartridge. Flip it back on and be fine?

Again thanks for your help guys.

Just to chime in here with Jon, if its only hot water leaking out of the faucet then you'll only need to replace the stem valve (cartridge) on the hot side of the shower. IF you're only needing to work on the hot side and/or the shower valve of your a three handle system of your shower, then just shutting off the valve on top of your water heater will be sufficient. When you turn on the hot water handle you will hear some sounds and may have some water come through until it de-pressurizes completely.

There should be two pipes on the top of your water heater. One should have a shutoff valve on it. These are the in and out water pipes for the water heater. The gas pipe would connect to the gas valve at the bottom of the water heater.

If you ever need to shut off all the water at a house I would recommend shutting off the main water at the water meter. There will be a valve right next to the meter. This is how they take out or replace a meter. Its usually a simple turn with a crescent wrench, and it shuts all the water off to the house. You would need to shut off all the water off if you are changing out the stem valve for the cold water of your shower.

You will be fine just shutting off the hot water to fix the shower if it is just the hot water valve, but you should really find the main shut off valve. The last thing that you want to do it try to locate it while you have a pipe leaking.

thanks guys. yeah still learning some of this small stuff. now after i replace the cartridge do I need to do anything special to get it to build pressure, or do I simply turn the knob and eventually it will do its thing?

Well, it may be a little late for you, but in any event- look at the escutcheon plate for your faucets (the cover plate behind the handle). If it is an elongated type (vs. symmetrical) chances are good that if you remove that plate you will find a large slotted head that is a shutoff for each side of the fixture. Just be sure you use a large enough properly fitting screwdriver to turn it, so that you don't strip/break the head. Turn it clockwise, usually only 1/4 turn, to shut it off.

Also, for your household main shutoff, if you don't find a valve just inside the wall where the line enters, you may have a shutoff in the yard. Look for a small round concrete or cast iron lid in the yard. These are sometimes buried under topsoil from years of non-use, in which case it will probably be frozen and inoperative anyway. For long term, it is best to replace/install a "ball" valve for a main shutoff, and I paint them Bright Blue and point them out to tenants so they can shut off the water in an emergency.

Originally posted by "Beachbum":
For long term, it is best to replace/install a "ball" valve for a main shutoff, and I paint them Bright Blue and point them out to tenants so they can shut off the water in an emergency.

Just wanted to see this restated.....you may have found a way to replace that one hot water valve leak, but I would be very sure to find where the main shutoff for the house is and be sure that it works. I've ran into LOTS over the years that no longer shutoff the water and needed to be replaced. There's only been one time that I could not find a shutoff....someone had used the city main at the sidewalk to shutoff the water, removed the house main shutoff valve and connected it directly instead of just replacing the valve :shock:

Now are you referring to an additional shutoff other than the one at the property's individual water meter?

I would guess its different everywhere, but in my area, I have never seen a house with an internal house shutoff. The only way to turn off the water to the whole house is at the meter or what is commonly called the water main. Now I've had some apartments that had individual shut offs in each apartment. Other than that if you want to turn off the water where I live, you have to turn it off at the water meter from the city.

Yeah, I don't see inside main shutoffs here either.....figured that must be a georgraphic thing. But, here we have the city shutoff right at the meter typically down near the sidewalk/street and then a shutoff right where the water main comes into the house.

Originally posted by "donflips":
Yeah, I don't see inside main shutoffs here either.....figured that must be a georgraphic thing. But, here we have the city shutoff right at the meter typically down near the sidewalk/street and then a shutoff right where the water main comes into the house.

In my area it is code to have the water meter in the house isolated with gate or ball valves Usually the valve before the meter has a lock out on it that only the water dept. can open or some sort of tamper seal to prevent people from by-passing their water meter.

I completely agree that every house, not just rentals, should have a ball valve main shut-off that is easy to get to and find for emergency situations. All family members should know the electrical main disconnect and the water main shut off.

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