For those who are on a city or municipal water system, the water main shut off valve is located right by the water meter which is normally located right where the main water main enters the house itself. It could be located in the basement, crawl space, or in the case of some that live in warm
weather climates; it could be located in a box outside by the curb stop.
In most cases here in Michigan, its either located in the basement or if the house is on a crawl or slab, would be located in a utility room or closet. If you have trouble locating the main shut off and how to operate it, have your plumber show you the location and how to open and close it. While they’re there, your plumber should also make sure that the water main shut off valve it is good working order. With some of the older style gate valves, they become inoperable by not closing all the way. If that’s the case then have your plumber install a new shut off valve, and preferably a ball
Along with knowing where the water main shut off is located and how to operate it, you should have your plumber’s phone number handy along with the emergency phone number for the water department or municipality just in case you need to shut the curb stop off at the street.
For those who have a private well system, you should also know how to shut off the power to the well pump. In many cases its located right by the well tank itself, but in all cases it should be located in the main fuse box or electrical panel. Again if in doubt or if you’re unsure how it do this, have
your plumber show you how to operate it in case of an emergency.
With all the above said and knowing how to shut your water off, I always tell my clients to shut the water off to their house if they’re going to be away for more than a couple of days, especially if you have a seasonal home, as a plumbing emergency can happen at any time. Examples would be; a washing machine hose could burst or a supply line for a toilet or lavatory sink could fail, pouring water through the house. Or if it’s winter time, a ice storm could hit, knocking the power out for days and having no heat in your house for days could freeze the pipes, and if you’re gone, it’ll be a real mess coming back to see that mayhem has struck when you open the door. So I always advise my clients that if their going be gone for more the a couple of days always shut the water off as a
precaution. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.