Plumbing 101: How to Turn Off the Water in Your Home

If you develop a plumbing problem and have water leaking, do you know where to find and how to turn your water main off? 

A water leak can mean excess water usage, higher bills, and possible damage if left unchecked. After you determine where the leak is you’ll need to find the shutoff. Check out these tips below from Mac Plumbing.

Kitchen or bathroom sink

  • Look for two chrome-plated stop valves under the sink, usually at the back of the cabinet. These are connected to the water supply tubes.
  • To shut off a single-handed faucet, you will need to turn off both. Turn the valves clockwise to turn them off.


  • A toilet has a single cold-water valve, usually located at the back of the toilet and sticking out from the wall.
  • Locate the valve and shut it off by turning the handle clockwise.
  • If the valve is too difficult to turn by hand, try wearing work gloves or grip the handle with a pair of pliers.

Water heater

  • Turn off the cold water valve above the water heater.
  • This may be a lever or a regular circular-handle valve.
  • If it’s a lever, pull it 90 degrees from its open position.
  • If it’s a circular valve, turn it clockwise until it is closed.

Washing machine

  • Many washers are served by two valves that look like outdoor hose valves, one for hot and the other for cold.
  • Usually, these are located behind the machine.
  • Turn both valves clockwise.

The whole house

  • If you don’t find a shutoff valve near a fixture, you may have to shut the valve that controls the flow of water to the entire house, normally located near where the cold water pipe enters the house.
  • In most cases, the valve is located on a pipe right before the water heater and may have a red handle.
  • Once again, rotate the handle clockwise.

The whole property

  • To turn off the water to the whole property, look for the main valve.
  • Normally this is located out by the street in a concrete box just below ground level.
  • Once you locate the valve handle, turn it clockwise until it stops.

NOTE: This valve should always be completely open or completely closed – never leave half-open to control the amount of flow into the house. It is not designed to be left partially open.

Here are some images to show you the different valves around your house.

If all this sounds too technical or you decide it’s not in your best interest to try this at home, please call us! Mac Plumbing is here for any of your plumbing needs.

Be prepared with a check-up from Mac and if you do find yourself with plumbing problems, be sure to contact Mac Plumbing or call us at (931) 552-5555.