How to Locate Water Shutoff Valves In Any Home

Even as spring approaches, you'll want to check your home's piping for signs of freezing. Here's where you can find your pipes and water shutoff valves!

 Although we’re now in March, winter is still in full swing for some of you, so frozen water pipes are something to watch for! If you’ve ever had a busted pipe, then you understand the importance of not waiting until the last minute to learn about the piping in your home!

Whether you’re a millennial like me, a first-time homeowner or you’ve recently made the switch from site built to manufactured, I feel that it’s my responsibility to make sure that you’re properly informed so you can check your pipes for freezing and keep your home in great shape!

My tips for where to look and how to maintain your home do apply to anyone, but I've included some manufactured home specific tips toward the end!

Signs of Freezing To Watch Out For

  • Your water smells funny and is discolored, slowly comes out and/or has an uneven stream
  • Bad smells are coming from drains, sinks or toilets
  • Hearing unusual sounds when you use the sink or flush the toilet
  • Wet rings are forming on the ceiling

If you do think your pipes are frozen, or need to locate your water shutoff valve, I’m here to help you figure out where your water is coming and going throughout your home!

Where to Find Your Pipes and Valves:

Kitchen Sink:
  • Typically, your kitchen sink shutoff valves are the easiest to find as they’re usually under the sink or near the bottom of the cabinet. Your sink has piping leading to the faucet, so the valves should be on the piping underneath the sink.
  • Bathroom sink – Like the kitchen, most shutoff valves will be underneath the sink in the cabinet area. Another possible location is above the sink in the ceiling, if you have a suspended ceiling. You should be able to tell by which way the pipes come out of the sink.
  • Toilet – Your toilet shutoff valve will almost always be underneath the toilet tank.
  • Shower/Bathtub – Some shower or bathtub shutoff valves may be underneath the sink, but if they’re not, check in the basement (if you have one) directly below the bathroom.
Utility or Laundry Room:
  • This shutoff valve will be either above or right behind the washer.
Main Water Valve:
  • If you have a basement, it will likely be located on the front foundation wall and will have a large, metal handle.
  • If you don’t have a basement, your shutoff valve could be near the water heater, by your washer and dryer or under the kitchen sink. Also, if you have a crawl space, the valve could be there.¹
  • It’s also possible that the shutoff valves are attached to an exterior wall or inside an underground box.

What should you do if your pipes are frozen or busted?

If you have a busted pipe or you’ve noticed one is frozen, first use the shutoff valve for either that pipe or for the entire home.

If the frozen pipe is accessible, then you may be able to unfreeze it by applying heat, but if you can’t get to it, you should call a plumber.

How can I prevent pipes from freezing in my home?

When any area is really cold, it’s a good idea to leave a little bit of water running in your home.

When you live in a manufactured home, it’s also important to check your belly board.

This is the board that closes in the insulation around your piping under your home’s flooring. You want to make sure your belly board is free of holes to prevent freezing.

Manufactured Home Specific Tips 

Most manufactured homes will have similar plumbing as a site built home, so many of these tips work for both types of home!

All manufactured homes will have one main water cut off. In manufactured homes, the main water cut off should be in the utility room where your washer and dryer go. 

You can also purchase your home with shutoffs at each fixture that uses water. This includes fixtures like a kitchen sink or a toilet.

If you cannot find your shutoff valves in your manufactured home, your home building facility's customer care manager or your home center’s service manager should be able to help you!

  1. Locating And Operating Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve". 2017. Wsscwater.Com.


Seasonal Maintenance Checklist

Home care is essential to keeping a house in good repair. Check out this home maintenance checklist for ways to care for your home year-around!

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