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Going away? Shut off your water valve

Water leaks that arise while you are away will increase your water bill significantly, and could also cause massive damage. Turning off the water at the main shut-off water valve is the best way to protect your home from such leaks and large bills, as most insurance companies won’t cover your home for water losses if you are not home for more than 4 days. See our other post on that.

Turn Off Main Water Valve

Turn off the main shut-off water valve into your home as long as water is not needed to run appliances like a sump pump for example. Your water meter is located in the basement typically at the front of your home. You can find the main shut off valve in your basement on the water service between the water meter and where it comes up through the floor or wall. The shut-off water valve could  be a brass angle handle or look similar to an outside tap water valve. Make sure to show everyone in the home the location of the valve in case of emergency, such as a burst pipe.  Turn the valve handle clockwise to shut off the water supply into your home.

If you are away from the home in the winter or when there is a chance that your pipes could freeze, ensure that the water supply is turned off completely at the main shut-off water valve. Open faucets and drain all waterlines.

If you are unable to close the main shut-off water valve, make sure to turn off as many valves as possible to individual fixtures and appliances.  Shut-off valves are located under sinks, toilet tanks, at water supply hoses into washers, dishwashers, and hot water heaters.  Check these valves annually to ensure they are not corroded, stuck in place or partially turned off.  Shut-off valves should always be in the fully open position (or fully off during repairs).

Assess if your home has a water leak

To detect if there is a leak that requires further investigation in your home use the water meter.

When examining your water meter, see if the red dial is slowly moving. If it is, there is likely a slow leak at some location within your home. Water meters vary throughout the city and the red arrow is not always in the same location.

Numbers on the water meter can also indicate a leak. This is only useful if the number is checked in the evening when water is no longer being used and again in the morning before any water is turned on. If the numbers have increased (similar to a cars odometer) than you likely have a water leak.

Water Meter - water valve
London Ontario water meter

Source: Official website of the City of London