Oh, no! Water is running from somewhere beneath the cabinets and ruining your new kitchen floor. HELP!
You can prepare for a crisis like this by knowing how to turn off the water to your home. You should locate the main water valve, know how to operate it, and tag it. Everyone in the household should walk through this drill.
Where is the valve? You don’t know? For us lucky folks in cold climates, supply piping is buried several feet in the ground; the pipe enters the home through the basement or crawl space. Take a look at the illustration. (In warm climates, pipes don’t need to be protected from freezing, and water may enter the house through an exposed valve.)
To find your supply line, look on the street side of your home first. You can also trace the pipe from the water heater to the cold water source. Remember, “right is tight” (off) with older valves. For ball valves: when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, the water is off. If the valve is rusted or corroded, have a plumber test it and replace it if necessary.
By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It