Advice 24 March, 2021

How to turn off your water supply in the house - 5 plumbing tips

This will help you to react quickly in an emergency and prevent damage to your property. Since there are different ways to do this, it’s worth learning the different ways to shut off water to your home.

There are many reasons you might want to turn off your water supply in the house. These include:

  • New kitchen or bathroom installation
  • Repair work to the central heating system
  • To prevent a leak
  • When you’re going on holiday

Every home is different, so you may need to search around for the different valves in your home. We’ll try to cover every possible scenario so that you’re prepared for anything.

How to turn the water off under the sink?

If your kitchen sink is leaking, you may want to isolate these taps rather than turning off the water supply to the whole house. Some homes are fitted with isolation valves for each tap. These will be marked red for hot and blue for cold. By simply turning these valves clockwise, you can turn off the water supply to the kitchen sink. This will allow you to replace the kitchen tap or carry out repair work.

How to turn the water off for a toilet?

A malfunctioning toilet can spell disaster for your home. The most common problem is a faulty toilet fill valve, which means the cistern continues filling with water and eventually overflows. In this situation, you should find the isolation valve near the toilet. If there is no isolation valve, you will need to try the following steps:

For a mains-fed cistern

Locate the mains stop tap to stop the water supply to the entire home. Now turn on the hot and cold taps in the bathroom until the taps run dry. You will need to call an emergency plumber to fix the problem before you can turn the water on again.

For a cold water storage cistern

Find the cold tank, locate the gate valve on the supply pipe and close it. Depending on your home plumbing set up, this could isolate the cold water supply to every appliance in your bathroom.

How to turn the water off from a water heater or meter?

If you’re going away and don’t want to risk any leaks while you’re gone, you could try turning your water off at the meter. To turn the water off from a water meter, first, locate your water meter. This will typically be outside your property and may be housed in a box. You may need a triangular-shaped key to open in. If the water meter is inside your property, it may be found under the kitchen sink.

Next to your water meter, you should see a valve. When you turn this, you should see the water meter slow and then stop moving. If the water meter is still moving, then your stop valve is not working correctly. Then it’s time to call a plumber.

How to turn the water off from a washing machine?

Washing machines are one of the most common causes of floods in the home. Left unattended, a faulty machine can quickly spew litres of water into your home. Loose connections are usually to blame. But when you’re facing a sea of water in your kitchen, fixing the connection should be the last thing on your mind. Instead, follow these steps to turn the water off from a washing machine.

  1. Pull the washing machine away from the wall so you can locate the pipes.
  2. Follow the pipes to the wall.
  3. Here, you should find one or two isolation valves. You may have hot and cold water pipes or just a cold water pipe.
  4. Turn the valves to the “off” position. This is usually counterclockwise.
  5. If this step fails to stop the flow of water, you will need to locate the internal stop tap. This will stop the flow of water to the entire home.

How to turn the water supply off for the whole house?

Learning how to turn off your water supply could save you valuable time if you have a burst pipe. Every adult in the home should know how to locate the water shutoff valves and be able to do this quickly.

To turn the water supply off for the whole house, you need to locate the internal stop tap. This is usually located in one of the following locations:

  • Under your kitchen sink
  • In an airing cupboard
  • In a downstairs bathroom
  • Under the floorboards by your front door
  • Under the stairs
  • In the cellar

Once you have found your stop tap, turn it clockwise to stop the flow of water. You will then need to run the hot and cold water taps in your home to drain the system. This should stop any leaks and make it possible to carry out repair works.


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