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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article describes The Main Water Shutoff Valve or Control, How to Locate & Shut Off Well Water in a Building for private pump and well systems. We explain how to locate and use the main well water shutoff valve to turn off water in a building. In our photo at page top the white arrow points to a lever type main water shutoff valve found near the outlet from the water pressure tank. This valve will turn off all water entering the building plumbing system.
If your water supply is from a municipal water system and you need to turn off all water to the building, see WATER SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION, USE.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
Which way to turn the water shutoff valve - which way is "off"?
Lever type water valves such as the one in this photo are on or "open" permitting water to flow when the valve handle is parallel or "in line with" the water piping, and the valve is "off" or "closed" or "shut" when the valve is at right angles to the piping. So in this photo you can see that the water valve is in the "open" position.
Round handled shutoff valves are in their "open" position when the valve has been turned fully counter clockwise and these valves are "shut" when the valve has been turned fully in a clockwise direction.
Multiple Water Shutoff Valves May Be Present
How to Fix Leaky Water Shutoff Valves
Leaks at main shutoff valves occur, particularly at round shutoff valves around the valve stem (the rod just under the valve handle). Sometimes you can repair such a leak by carefully and gently tightening the nut that is found just under the round valve handle and through which the valve stem protrudes. This will squeeze valve stem packing more tightly around the stem and may stop a leak there. But be careful not to over do it - if you crack the packing nut or break the valve assembly you'll have a much bigger leak.
How to turn off the water if you cannot find the main shutoff valve: if the main shutoff valve can't be located, or if it is broken (or you just broke it), or if it is jammed and does not turn, you can still stop water from running into the building. Find and turn off the electrical power to the water pump. The water pump main electrical switch is usually located near the water pump or water pressure tank (if the pump is a submersible unit down in the well). The water pump electrical switch is described in more detail below.
If you turn off electrical power to the water pump, some water may continue to flow into the building until all of the pressure in the water pressure tank has been exhausted (perhaps one to four minutes) but that'll be it.
If your water supply is from a municipal supply and not a private well and water tank, and if your water shutoff needs repair or replacement, you'll need to find (or get help finding) a main water shutoff that may be located (buried) between the building and the water main in the street. See WATER SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION, USE. We advise against taking apart or messing with a stiff or leaky main water shutoff on municipal water supply systems unless you can shut off the water outside of the building first.
Where to Find & How to Turn Off the Water in Buildings with a Private Well and Water Pump - Which Way to Turn the Water Shutoff Valve
We don't drain the water tank nor building plumbing unless a total building shut-down is being planned.
Our photo (left) shows the pump electrical switch in our forensic laboratory. Because the building is sometimes checked by people who do not know the water controls well, you'll see that we labeled the switch to make it easy to recognize.
Emergency water turn off procedures - building with a well: In an emergency, if your main water valve breaks or is not operating at a house served by a private well, pump, and tank, be sure to leave the electrical power to the water pump turned off, and see if you can drain water pressure from the system at plumbing fixtures or at the water tank drain.
Thanks to reader Ron Blodgett for suggesting this clarification about just where and how to turn off building water when leaving a building unattended.
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