At some point in time, you will probably need to shut off the water supply coming into your home. You’ll want to do that if you have frozen pipes in the winter or before you perform any major plumbing work. You may also want to shut the water off if you are heading out of town for an extended period.

The first thing you need to do is know where the main water shutoff valve is in your home. There are four common areas, and it depends on where the main water line enters your home:

Now that you have found the valve, how do you turn the water off? There are generally two types of shutoffs.

It is a good idea to occasionally test the valve. Turn on a faucet somewhere in the house and then shut off the main water valve. The water should stop.

Finally, note your house may also have a shutoff just for the exterior. You’ll want to shut that off in the winter to prevent outside spigots from freezing and cracking.