Teach Kids to Operate Water Shut-off Valves | Roto-Rooter Blog

Teach Kids to Operate Water Shut-off Valves | Roto-Rooter Blog

Have you ever been away from home and received a frantic call from the babysitter telling you the house is flooding and he or she doesn't know what to do? By the time you call a plumber to take care of this emergency, the damage to your home could be extensive. A lot of expense and headache can be prevented, though, by teaching children to how to shut off the valves and stop the flow of water. Following is information about three different types of shut-off valves. If you would like more detailed information about any one of these areas, please go to Roto-Rooter.com.

Shut-off Valves for Specific Devices

A good rule of thumb is to turn off the water closest to the problem. Many plumbing appliances and fixtures make this easy to do since they come with their own shut-off valves. Following is a list of a few devices and the locations of their shut-off valves:

  • Toilet--Look behind the toilet, close to the floor.
  • Washing machine--Both the cold and hot taps are behind the washer.
  • Water heater--Find the cold water supply line located on top of the water heater.
  • Water softener--Find the cold water supply line that leads into the water softener.
  • Refrigerator--Check behind the appliance first and then look in the basement or crawl space.
  • Dishwasher--Look underneath the sink that is next to the dishwasher.

It is important to remember that this is just a guide. Every appliance is different. It is a good idea to check the owner's manual to learn the details about your particular appliance.

Shut off the Main Supply Lines

In many homes there are two different main shut-off valves: the house valve and the street valve.

The House Valve

If the water to the entire house needs to be turned off, this is the valve that children would be able to use without much effort. This valve can be located either outside the house or in a basement if you have one. It is near the area where the water enters the house. It will shut off the supply of all water going into the building.

The Street Valve

The other main valve is located near the property line. This is the place where the city water connects to your main water line. It is usually contained in a box that is buried and covered with a metal plate. Access to this valve is limited because you have to pry off the plate with a crow-bar or other heavy object to get to the valve. Once there you need a shut-off key to turn the water on and off. Most of the time you would use this valve only if there has been an emergency that has compromised the structure of the pipes.

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