Before returning home to Maryland and joining the Sanford Kramer team, I spent five years living and going to school in New Orleans, Louisiana. During my second year down there, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and sent me back home for four months. Looking back on the situation, I realized that when I returned to my rented house in New Orleans, I did not conduct any checks of my house’s water and electrical systems for damages caused by the storm–because I did not know what I was looking for or how to deal with the damage.
So, this post and a follow-up post will discuss emergency shut-off procedures to protect you and your family after a natural disaster. Though hurricanes are not so common up here in Maryland, we are subject to tornadoes and severe thunderstorms from time-to-time (the tornado watch in Northern Virginia the other night gave me the idea for this post).
Water Shut Off Procedures
Following a natural disaster, conduct a visual inspection for leaks in your various plumbing systems. Also, check your water supply lines by turning water faucets on and off. If the cold water stops running, runs very slowly after a few seconds, or is dirty, you most likely have a leak.
In that event, you’ll want to shut off your main water supply. Two ways to do that:
1) Turn off the water where it enters the house. In many homes, there’s a valve just below your main outdoor faucet;
2) Or, you can shut down your water supply by turning the valve attached to your water meter.
Water valves have either round or lever-type handles. With a lever, you only have to make a one-quarter turn to shut off your water. Round handles are typically harder to turn, so you may have to give it a few tries. To turn off your water, turn the handle clockwise. If you don’t have a water shut off, you should have one installed.
Hopefully, the Washington/Baltimore region will stay safe from natural disasters. If something happens, though, you’ll know how to shut off your water to prevent danger and further damage. The next post in this series will discuss power shut-off.
As always, feel free to call us if you have any other questions. If you press the Google Voice button to the right and enter your phone number, Google will connect your phone to ours, and we can chat.