Know Your Emergency Shut-Off Valves

Do you know what to do in case of a plumbing emergency? The truth is, a lot of people don’t, but malfunctions can happen even in the best plumbing systems. If something starts leaking or breaks, and you don’t know how to turn off the water, you could have a disastrous flood on your hands.

In this post, we will show you how to locate the most important emergency water shut-off valves in your home, and how to use them.


The most important valve you need to be aware of is the main shutoff valve. This is the valve that will stop most plumbing catastrophes, like a burst pipe. It controls all water supply into the house. It is located either in the basement, or on an outside wall in a utility area. It is extremely important for you to know the location of your house’s main shut-off valve.

There are a couple different types of shutoff valves, but regardless of the type of valve you have, you’ll need to turn it clockwise to turn it off.

Here’s another thing you need to be aware of: Some valves become more and more difficult to turn when they haven’t been turned in a long time, so if you haven’t touched your house’s main shutoff valve since you moved in, try and turn it now before you get caught in an emergency situation. Finding out the valve can’t be turned with your bare hands is something you want to discover when you’re not standing in 6 inches of floodwater. 

Every fixture has its own individual water supply shut-off valves too. These valves are usually located on the wall beneath the fixture, like under sinks and near toilets. If you’re wanting to repair or install a new fixture, or the fixture starts leaking, simply turn these valves clockwise to turn off the flow of water to the fixture. Fixtures that use both cold and hot water (like sinks) have 2 of these valves, and cold-water-only fixtures (like toilets) have 1 valve.

Don’t get caught unprepared in an emergency; find your home’s shutoff valves today. If you have trouble finding the main shutoff valve, or if any of your valves or fixtures are giving you problems, call Universal Plumbing at 586-459-0040 and we will gladly help you!