Lesson 1-9984

Welcome To Your FREE

Residential Plumbing How To Mini Course

Today’s Lesson:
Part 1 of 7

The One Big Thing you absolutely need to know!


Hello and welcome to your “Residential Plumbing How To” Mini Course.   I know you would rather take a nice vacation than spend money fixing damages caused by a plumbing leak, so today we are going to talk about something that can literally help
save you thousands of dollars.

My name is Bryan Stevens. I have been a plumber for over 20 years and I can’t tell you how many hundreds of thousands of dollars I have seen wasted because someone failed to do one simple thing.

If I asked you what is the first thing you should do if you discover a plumbing leak, what would you say?   If you’re a take charge, do it yourself kind of person you probably said “Well duh! Turn the water off.”   Seems like a no brainer, right?



Well, I have found that not everyone always knows where or how to shut the water off in their home.   This is vital information in case of a plumbing leak.  Every single person who might be left alone in your home needs to know where and how to shut off the water.



The location of your main shut off valve will vary depending on what kind of foundation your home has and what local practices are common.   One thing that is pretty standard throughout the United States is the location of your water meter.   It is almost always close to the street.   That makes your water meter a very good place to head if you discover a leak.


One problem you may have with shutting off the water at the meter is that water meters valves are often very hard to turn off.   A “meter key” that can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowe’s for around $10 makes it a lot easier.


Meter key


If you know where your main shut off valve is at the house, and can get to it, it may be easier to turn the water off there.   Some common locations are: where your water service pipe comes into the basement or crawlspace wall, near the water heater or behind an access panel.   The trend in home construction has been to treat the plumbing almost as an afterthought so plumbers often have to get pretty creative in finding places to install shut offs.



Here’s one additional reminder that can save you some embarrassment, if nothing else.   I don’t know a single professional plumber, including myself, who hasn’t at least once started working on something only to realize that they forgot to turn the water off.   Always turn the water off before removing or disconnecting any plumbing.

So take a few minutes soon and make sure everyone in your household knows where and how to turn off the water in case of an emergency.   Make sure that  your shut off valves are working properly before you really need them.   I promise you,   3 AM in the morning with wet feet is no time to be trying to figure this out.

This first lesson in the mini course has been about a very basic subject that could literally make thousands of dollars of difference in the event of a leak.   Next time we will talk about what kind of tools you really need to fix the problem after you’ve got the water off.   I promise they won’t cost an arm and a leg either.

Until next time,

Bryan Stevens