Cover photo: A broken wall, exposing pipes and ductwork behind it

4 Moves for an “Oh Sh*t” Moment

  1. Shut Off the Water at the Fixture

    Depending on where the leak is coming from in your home, it may be possible to shut off the plumbing emergency directly at its source. For example, if you have a flooded toilet or leaky faucet, your home’s plumbing fixtures should have individual shut off valves connected to the source. One of the few exceptions to this is the shower, which will require shutting off the entire water system to your home.

    To shut the water off to your toilet or to your faucet, you will need to locate the isolation valve, also known as an angle stop. These small valves come out of the wall and will be placed very close to the appliance (behind your toilet or under your sink), and have a hose that connects them right to your plumbing appliance. To turn off the water you will want to turn this valve clockwise, or right.

  2. Shut Off Water to Water Heater

    If your hot water heater is leaking, and you have a standard storage style tank (which the majority of homes do these days), there is a shut off valve just for your water heater. One important fact to keep in mind is that even when this valve is off, your water heater has about 50 gallons of water still stored in the tank, and that water will continue to leak; shutting off the valve to your hot water heater will only prevent it from filling with more water. The valve is usually located above your water heater, and it either has a lever handle or a circular handle. A lever-type handle indicates that the valve is a ball valve, which is far superior to and much more reliable than the alternative, the gate valve – identified by its circular handle. To shut either type valve off, turn it clockwise (to the right).

    As long as the valve is in good working condition — note that they can sometimes corrode and become unusable — turning it will shut off the cold water supply going into your water heater. If your water heater is up to code and has a drain pan and drain line, you will be able to alleviate the emergency before it gets worse.

    If your hot water heater doesn’t have a drain pan and drain, or your valve doesn’t turn, you now have an ongoing emergency as your water heater will continue to fill with water and leak, causing increased property damage by the minute. In these situations, you can count on a licensed plumber like Robins Plumbing to get to your home right away to alleviate this emergency, and get you back up and running as quickly as possible. While you’re waiting for our technician to show up, you can take the additional step of shutting off the water to your home to eliminate as much water damage to your property as possible. Let’s find out how to do that next!

  3. Turn Off Water to Your Home

    Not all plumbing leaks occur at toilets and faucets; in fact, most of them occur within walls or ceilings. Having water gushing out of your ceiling or water flowing from your walls can bring on some serious panic attacks, not to mention some serious property damage.
    Don’t wait until this happens to learn how to shut off your home’s water! It pays to test your plumbing system occasionally, especially if it means preventing damage to your property in the future or a costly flood cleanup. If you live in a residential home (not a condominium or apartment), the shut off valve for your house is usually found right out front, beneath the spigot where you connect your garden hose. This valve is hopefully going to have a lever handle on it, indicating it is a ball valve. You will turn this lever clockwise. To test if the valve shut-off is working correctly, turn the hose bibb (the outside spigot we just talked about) on and see if water still comes out. If it does, then the valve is not working and will need to be replaced.

  4. Shut Off Water to Entire Property

    If the valve solution doesn’t work and you can’t turn the water off yourself, you will need to call the city to have them send out a technician to shut down your water meter. Just in case you’re wondering, yes, you can physically do this yourself, but the meter is usually considered property of the jurisdiction you live in. For example, the City of Phoenix does not allow residential homeowners to shut off the water at the meter. If you’re in doubt as to the consequences of shutting off a meter yourself, don’t do it — just contact the city and hope they get to your location quickly.

Services in Phoenix & Beyond

When you’ve found yourself in need of plumbing services in the Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Chandler area, you can trust Robins Plumbing to provide you with prompt and expert care, contact our team today! In addition to our toilet services, we also offer a variety of residential and commercial plumbing services, including: drain cleaning, water heater repair and replacement, sewer camera inspection and locating, backflow prevention, commercial and residential jetting, water treatments, and more. Visit our reviews online to see what others have to say about our local plumbing company!