How to Turn off Your Mains Water Supply

Whether you wish to be a responsible homeowner or you have a leak water pipe, knowing how to shut off your water is crucial. It can save your furniture from water damage if there’s a leak you’ve yet to locate. Alternatively, you can turn it off to allow plumbers to remodel your home with minimal mess.

Though the Australian government regulates plumbing, you can do this yourself. This process only requires tools you can easily find and use.

In this blog, we’ll reveal how to turn off the water supply to your house so you can limit damage from leaks and remodeling.

What Is A Water Main?

A water main is the pipe connection through which you receive water from the state. When discussing shutting off your water supply, it often refers to the valve that controls the water access to your home.

Furthermore, these isolation valves come in different shapes:

  • Ball Valve: This shut-off valve has one straight handle. It’s closed when the handle lies perpendicular to the rest of the body of the valve.
  • Gate Valve: A gate valve has a wheel-shaped handle. When you turn its wheel, it lifts a ‘gate’ and allows water to flow into your residence.
  • T-Top Isolation Valve: This valve’s ‘t-top’ name comes from the shape of its handle.

The Tools Required When Turning off the Water Main

It’s possible to shut off your mains supply with no tools. However, the valve may be difficult to turn, and your plate cover could be hard to remove without help. Alternatively, there could be water or dirt in the way. In such cases, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Spanner
  • Screwdriver
  • Cup
  • Rag

How to Turn off the Water Supply to Your House

Shutting the water supply is fairly simple, but it’s important to have knowledge so you’re ready in case of an emergency. Therefore, you should keep the following steps in mind whether you need to shut it off immediately or for a future emergency:

  • Inform Your State Water Agency

To start the process of shutting off your water supply, you’ll first need to contact your state water agency. In Australia, plumbing is highly regulated. Therefore, you need to report some plumbing actions, such as shutting off the supply to your residence.

When you report this, you’ll need to give a valid reason for shutting it off. Since you can turn off the water flow using isolation valves within your home, you need a reason why those valves won’t be sufficient. For instance, you can shut it off if:

  • You have a leak outside your residence
  • Your isolation valves malfunctioned
  • You’re remodeling
  • A plumber is installing a new shut-off valve
  • Locate the Mains Supply

Now that you’ve contacted your state, the next step is to locate the main supply. Usually, it’s close to the water meter, which measures your water consumption. You’ll find them at the front of your house, on the side of your yard. It’s likely to have a metal or plastic cover.

  • Remove the Cover Plate

After you’ve located the mains supply, you should remove the cover plate to access the valve. You can remove this plate with a screwdriver by fitting its metal tip in the cover’s hole. Then, you’ll use the screwdriver handle as a leverage point to remove the plate. Once it’s off, you can set the cover plate to the side.

  • Clean the Water Meter Box

If you find that your meter box is dirty or water-logged after you’ve removed the plate, you should clean it. You can use a cup and rag to remove the water.

When learning how to turn off the water to your house, this step is optional since you may not have this issue. However, over time, silt, insects, and other small debris can make their way beneath the plate. That’s normal and should only require occasional cleaning, if any. But if there’s water, you should inform your state.

  • Shut off the Valve

Now that you’ve ensured the meter box is clean, you can shut off the valve. Whether you have a ball, t-top, or gate valve, you should turn it clockwise. If you find it difficult to turn, you can turn it counterclockwise and then clockwise again. This can help loosen it. However, if it still gives you issues, use a shifter spanner and screwdriver to give you better leverage.

When you turn it off, you should do it slowly and turn it as far as possible. Brisk movements and closing it only partially could damage it. In particular, gate valves can shatter if you leave them half open and there’s high water pressure.

  • Empty your plumbing system

After you’ve shut off the valve, you can proceed to the last step in emptying your plumbing system. To empty your pipes, you’ll need to open your front hose tap. This gives the water a controlled outlet, which you can use to store this water for future use. Otherwise, the water could seep out through a leak in your plumbing system.

Then, a plumber can repair whatever issue you have. After they’ve resolved your plumbing issue, you can open the water valve fully and put the plate cover back.


Now you know how to turn off the water supply to your house, you can easily protect your home from leaks. To do so, you’ll only need to remove the cover plate in your front garden and turn the valve. This should stop all water flow from the state to your residence. Then, a plumber can resolve the issue you have, and you’ll be able to turn it back on.

Even if you don’t have an immediate need to close off your water supply, it’s a crucial skill to have as a homeowner since it keeps you ready for an emergency. So, whether you have a leak, wish to remodel, or not, remember these steps.


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