How to Turn Off a Water Valve

For a plumbing emergency or even for just a minor repair, it's necessary to turn off the water supply before attempting to do the job. You can always shut off the water supply to your entire home, but that is often not necessary. Instead, turn off the water valve for the pipes and fixtures that require repairs--it's usually simple.

There's no need to turn off the water for the entire house if you're making repairs.

Locate the valve you want to turn off. If you need to turn off a faucet or a toilet, look for the plastic or chrome-plated stop valve along the pipes running to the fixture. Sinks have one valve for the hot water and one valve for the cold water. To turn off water to the entire house, look for the cold-water pipe that enters the house or the pipe near the water heater.

Turn the valve clockwise. Usually, you can do this by hand, but use a wrench or pliers if it's too tight.

Turn the valve counterclockwise to turn the water back on.

Things You Will Need

  • Wrench or pliers


  • The main valve for your property is outside the house near the street. Look for a metal cover with "Water Meter" printed on it. The water meter and the main valve are under the cover. Check with your city's water and power supplier to make sure you are allowed to access this valve.


  • If the valve will not turn, do not force it. You might break it.

About the Author

After accidentally stumbling into a journalism class at University of North Texas, Abby Vaun has been writing ever since. She honed her skills writing for "The Dallas Morning News" and as a copy editor for Earle Palmer Brown in New York City. From Dallas to New York to L.A., she has enjoyed freelancing for 10 years and expanding her knowledge through her profession.

Photo Credits