Instructions for nearly every plumbing job start with this caveat: turn off the water supply to stop the flow. Failing to turn off the water before working on a pipe or other fixture in your Portland home can result in a mishap that’s either wildly comic or borderline tragic. No one wants a burst pipe! It is amazing how fast water flows from an open water pipe as you’re looking for the shut-off valve.
Whether you’re making a repair or there’s a plumbing emergency such as a frozen pipe, clogged water lines, or a burst pipe, it’s important to know how to shut-off the water. If you live in the Portland metro area, here is what you need to know.
The Main shut-off
Being a homeowner means being familiar with the inner workings of your house. Sometimes you’ll need to turn off all the water in your home. Maybe it’s for a simple repair, or there is a water issue at the ground level that you are trying to diagnose. It’s important to remember that you always turn off the water if a fixture doesn’t have its own shut-off valve, or if you suspect your pipes are leaking.
Find the main shut-off: Look for this valve inside your home, although you might need to look in a few different places. It may be near the hot water heater, in your basement, or outdoors near the house’s foundation. Turn the valve clockwise, then test to see if the water is off by turning on a faucet. This simple twist should stop the flow of water.
If you don’t have an inside water main: You may be able to turn off the water near the meter. Before you do this, check with your municipality because, in some areas, only a city worker or licensed plumber is allowed to turn this valve. If you live in Portland and the surrounding Oregon towns, residents are allowed to shut-off the water at the meter.
The main shut-off is on the side of the water meter closest to the house. After turning the valve, look at the dial on the water meter. If the sweep hand and leak detector dial are still, no water is running, and you are safe to begin work on your repair.
Find the water meter: Residential water meters in Portland and nearby suburbs are generally not at the ground level. Instead, they are in an underground box with a metal lid. The meter box may be on the sidewalk or near your property line in front of your house and the lid will be labeled “Water Meter.” The meter itself is a round dial, sometimes with its own flip-up lid.
Turn off the water near the meter: The shut-off valve is between the meter and the supply line that runs into the house. You will need a wrench to turn the valve. There may also be a street-side shut-off valve between the meter and the street. Don’t turn off a street-side valve.
Confirm the water is off: Lift the lid on the meter face. Your meter may have a small blue or red leak-detector dial. If it is spinning, that means water is running.
Local shut-off Valves
Fixture supply stops are often installed on the lines leading to individual fixtures. Your sinks probably have valves beneath them. Valves for your toilet and appliances such as washing machines and water heaters may have valves on the wall. These valves are convenient because you can work on a single fixture without turning off water to the whole house.
Tub and Shower shut-off Valves
Some tubs and showers have shut-off valves that are difficult to find. They are sometimes inside an access panel, under the floor, or in the ceiling. If you need to turn off water to the shower or tub and you can’t get access to these valves, it’s easiest to just turn off the main water supply.
You don’t need to be a professional plumber to know how to turn off the water supply in your home. In fact, it is something that everyone should know how to do – just in case there is an event that requires you to have things turned off suddenly. In other words, even if you never want to work on your home’s plumbing, it’s important to know how to turn the water off!
Unfortunately, plumbing emergencies happen sometimes and you will need to know how to turn off the water before it causes significant damage to your home, yard, or surrounding area.
Our experts at Meticulous Plumbing are here to help with any of your plumbing emergencies or problems. We have the expertise to get the job done right and quickly, so your water is back on and flowing in no one! If your home needs a plumbing project completed, or you want new shut-off valves installed, call us today for friendly, expert help.