Water Shut Off

 While water shouldn’t be the cause of an explosion or fire, it can cause a lot of damage to a home. I'm not sure of the statistics, and there probably aren't any accurate. Knowing where the water shut off can save or reduce the amount of water damage in your home, at least water coming from the home's water supply.

Floods are the most common and costly natural hazard (Flood After Fire), but there isn't a shut-off valve to help prevent flooding from external water sources.

However, depending on what insurance site you reference, water damage (often from leaking pipes inside the home) is 7 to 10 times more likely than fire. In August 2019, Chubb Insurance in Australia stated that internal water damage claims were up 72% in the last 5 years (Chubb reveals its water damage claims are more common and costly than fire and burglary)

The following picture is the main water valve inside a home. The actual main for this home is located in a hole about 18 inches deep near the water meter. The water goes from the meter to the home and enters the home at this point, where a valve is used to shut off water throughout the home.

Water main valve inside a home

Find the Water Shut Off

Because water lines are susceptible to freezing, in most homes there is a often a water "main" shut-off valve inside the building, and not exposed outside as the electric and gas mains usually are.

While this main will shut off water throughout the house, it does not prevent water from coming to the house. If there is a break in the main line from the water meter to the house, there is still a chance of water getting into the home. To help prevent this, the real water main would need to be shut off.

The actual water main is usually outside near where the water meter is located. Most of these mains are a foot or more below ground level, and not very easy to shut off. The main often requires a special wrench with long handle so it can be shut off without reaching down into the hole . If you want to mitigate against the possibility of water from the water main to come to your house, the main at the meter needs to be shut off. Just be aware if there’s snow piled on the water main access (usually a round metal plate in the ground), you’re probably not going to be able to turn it off very easily.


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