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When you think of the peak time for flooding, your mind probably goes to spring and summer- hurricanes, flash floods, or even just gallons of rain leading to an unavoidable, watery mess. What you might not know is that there is actually a significant increase in home water damage during the winter. Why? Well, the number one reason is that pipes freeze and break, leading to flooding. One easy way to prevent this is by learning where your water main valve is!

Where is my water valve?

It’s not uncommon for there to be two valves: one on the street side of your water meter, and one located on the home side. In a cold climate, it is more likely to be in the basement close to the front of your house, and in warmer ones, attached to an exterior wall with a lid.

If you live in an older home, you may have a gate valve, which uses a round handle and must be turned several times to fully open or close, which is how they are designed to work. If it is partially opened, it can lead to undue wear and tear.

Newer homes usually have a ball valve, which is a lever that must be turned 90 degrees to switch on and off. If it is perpendicular to the pipes, it is closed; and if it is parallel, it is open.

Checking your water valve

Make a habit of examining your water valve at least twice a year to make sure it properly shuts on and off, and while you do so, apply a lubricant like WD-40 to ensure it turns easily. All you need to do to make sure it is fully off is go inside and try turning on a faucet- if water comes out, it is either not fully off, or malfunctioning. Additionally, make sure you are always gentle when turning the valve on and off- old valves can break when handled too roughly.

Once you know how to shut off your water valve, you will be prepared to quickly jump into action if any pipes spring a leak, particularly outdoor pipes, which are the most prone to freezing and bursting during the winter. Make sure you also inspect water supply lines for leaks, bulges, or any other signs of damage to prevent a problem before it starts.

If you have questions about leaks, are dealing with water damage, or aren’t sure that any damage has been properly addressed in the past, please let the Flood Medix give you a hand! Our area of expertise isn’t just repair- it’s making sure your cleanup is headache free.