You wake up early in the morning and head downstairs for your first cup of coffee. Yet as you step into your kitchen, it isn’t the coffee that grabs your attention; it’s the cold water surrounding your feet.

Quickly you turn on the light and begin looking around. Water is flowing freely out from underneath your sink.

Now what? If you think “call a plumber”, think again.

While calling the plumber should be top priority, it isn’t the first. When a pipe bursts from freezing temperatures, every two minutes it will leak approximately 30 gallons of water on to your floor. And the more water leaks into your home, the more damage it will cause.

Your first priority is finding the water main and shut it off to prevent further damage to your property.

While its imperative to find your shut off valve once the water is leaking, if you find it before you’ll be ready for life’s little emergencies.

Your water main can be in a variety of places, depending on how old your home is and where it is located. You may find it in a sunken box located near your street. It may be a valve located near your home. Or it may be located in the basement or crawl space of your home.

Study the shut off valve and assure you have the proper wrench stored near the valve itself so you never have to search for it in an emergency.

Your water main shut off valve will turn the water off for your entire home. If you’ve determined the water is coming from one appliance – your toilet for instance – each appliance does have its own shut off valve. You can turn the water off at the source, leaving the rest of your home with running water.