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Whether an apartment dweller or living in a detached home, don't take much comfort in just knowing where your water meter is. You should look inside the meter box and see what it takes to turn off the water. If you find a valve handle, then you know you can quickly shut off the water if you need to.
But some meter shut off valves don't have handles and require a special tool or a wrench to close the valve. If you don't have the proper tool handy, your place could fill with water before you could get it shut off at the meter. You're better advised to understand the other alternatives you have for stopping a flood.
For instance, if you don't have a main shut off valve outside or inside your unit, you still have numerous individual shut off valves for most of your plumbing fixtures. If somehow your sink faucet blows a gasket and starts spewing water all over the kitchen, don't bother running for the main shut off valve. Reach under the sink and turn off the hot or cold water supply line to the faucet.
The same applies to your bathroom sinks. Under each is a hot water and cold water shut off valve. Your toilet also has a shut off valve behind it on the left side. The washing machine also has valve handles behind it for turning off water. Even the water heater has a valve handle on the cold water pipe coming into the top of the heater to shut off water.
Dishwasher? It's typically connected to the water line under the sink and can be shut off by turning off the valves to the sink faucet.
Refrigerator ice maker? It may be connected to a fitting on the cold water shut off under your sink, in which case you can just turn off that valve to stop the water. Or it may be tapped directly into a pipe under the sink or near your washing machine, but it in that case it usually has its own small shut off valve very close to where it's tapped in.
The only fixture that doesn't have its own special shut off valve is the tub and shower. That's because for most purposes, the tub or shower valve is effectively the shut off.
Of course, if you have a leak somewhere behind any of these valves, shutting them off won't do any good. That's when you really need to know where the main shut off or water meter shut off is.
The bottom line is in an emergency, first go for the shut off valve for the particular fixture that's spewing. If that doesn't work, then go for the main shut off, even if you have to shut down water to the entire building. The sooner you stop the flood, the better for everyone.If in doubt, book an appointment with us now!