How to turn your water off

Learn the best way to turn your water off in an emergency

This quick and easy guild will tell you how to turn your water off no matter what type of building your in

So you suspect you have a water leak in your home? You may have a really high water bill, some signs of water pooling in your front yard or even water spurting out under your kitchen sink cabinet. You could have a burst water pipe. So what should you do?

Before you even call a Melbourne plumber, the first thing to do is to turn off your water supply. Now this can be easy in some houses and it can be down right impossible in others. Let me run you through how you turn you water off. When you locate the tap or valve handle you want to turn it clockwise to isolate the water.

What you are essentially looking for is a valve handle on the water meter or a valve handle on your water supply line.

You may need a few tools with you. These could be a shifting wrench or a pair of pliers.

Different places you can find your water meter...

If you live in a stand alone brick veneer home in the suburbs, chances are your water meter will be located at the front of your house. You will have walked pass it hundreds of times (sometimes without knowing) and it will more than likely be located in the lawn area or a garden bed.

If you live in a unit or duplex closer to Melbourne your water meter could be located on the side of your home, you will notice this usually in the front yard but sometimes these are located in the back as well. There should also be a mains water meter that you can turn off. Please not that turning this off will turn both or all of the units in your block off and should only be used if you cannot find your individual meter or if your individual meter does not work.

If you live in an apartment block you water meter should be located in the carpark below if you have an underground carpark. In newer blocks these will usually be located in a group with other water meters and can be located inside a cabinet usually near other services. When turning off the water supply to an apartment, make sure you are turning off the water to your apartment and not someone else's in the same block. You can usually tell by the markings on the meter itself - look for your apartment number.

If your in a factory or office building, your water meter should be located at the front of the property. You will usually see the water meter located close to the fire service and will usually be a larger valve and meter assembly. You may need some tools to help you turn off the water. If you have a factory unit or your office is part of a complex you may have an individual meter located near the front door of your office.

Once you have your water turned off you'll need to contact a qualified plumber to help you with your plumbing issue. If you cannot find your water meter even after following our guild please call us for specific instructions


About The Author

richie the plumber

Richard Foster

Founder, Operations Manager
Richie has been the owner and operator at Fix It Right Plumbing since 2007 and has been plumbing since he was 16. He has had vast experience in domestic, commercial and industrial plumbing. He is a firm believer in doing it once doing it right. Richie's passion for getting to the bottom of a problem created the culture that exists in all the plumbers at Fix It Right and also the slogan "Preventing Plumbing Disasters"

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Got a burst water pipe? What to do next…

Got A burst water pipe? Almost everyone who lives in a home with toilets, showers and taps is going to have to deal with a burst water pipe at some stage of their life. So what to you do if this type of plumbing disaster happens to you? Below I will explain the things you need to know and do so you'll be prepared and handle it like a pro.

Who does this usually happen to? Notice I said people who live in a home and not just the person who owns the house. Thats right, you could be staying at your parents home for the weekend, you could be lodging at an Air BnB for the weekend or you could just be home alone one night. Everyone will deal with this plumbing disaster at some time or another.

How do I know if I have a burst water pipe? Several signs to look for when you suspect you a burst water pipe.

  • You could see water building up in a pool in your garden - you may even see a stream of water running across your concrete path way
  • Water spurting out of a wall or wetness around walls that seems to be getting worse
  • Hissing or loud spraying sounds in and around areas within your home where plumbing is installed
  • A high water bill - extremely high water bills are often a sign you have a hidden leak

So what can you do? Here are some practical and essential tips of things you can actually do once you have determined you have a burst water pipe.

If you have a burst outside your home

  • Turn off the water supply at the water meter - this will shut off the flow of water and stop the leak, it will also turn the water off to the whole house so toilets and showers will not work
  • Keep pets and children away from the effected area - hot water bursts especially can be harmful to pets and children
  • Contact your local plumber as soon as you can
  • You may turn the water back on briefly and only if it is safe to do so, so you can shower and use toilets then turn it back off again
  • Keep water off during the night should you need to wait overnight to get help

If you have a burst inside your home

  • Turn off the water supply at the water meter - this will shut off the flow of water and stop the water flowing into your house, it will also turn the water off to the whole house so toilets and showers will not work. Do this as quickly as you can
  • Do not turn the water back on for any reason
  • Contact your local emergency plumber and stress you have an emergency and need immediate assistance
  • Reduce damage to your home by using a mop and bucket and any old towels you have to clean up excess water
  • Contact your insurance company ASAP and inform them what has happened and get a claim lodged

Tips for tennants

  • Follow the steps above but contact your agent to get an emergency plumber for you
  • If your agent is uncontactable or is refusing to help you do have the right to organise a plumber yourself and seek reimbursement once the burst pipe has been fixed. (Check with local laws about the exact procedure and amounts you are able to claim)
  • Do your best to limit the damage to the landlords property, this will make the rectification works easier and less time consuming and will enable you to get back to normal quicker

A note on insurance - most insurance companies will pay for and damage resulting as a cause of the burst water pipe. They will not usually cover the pipe repair itself. If you have a hidden water leak, your insurance company may cover the cost of investigation water leak detection works and the damage caused by the leak, again they do not usually cover the pipe repair.

Follow these simple instructions and you will be able to deal with a burst water pipe at home or at work easily and with very little stress. Handle burst water pipes like a pro


friendly plumber in kitchen

Richie's last tip - If you are going away for a weekend or an extended amount of time (like leaving a holiday house or going on holiday from your home) turn the water off at the meter. This will save you a considerable amount of stress while your away as well as protecting your home from potentially catastrophic damage

Avoid costly hot water repairs in 5 easy steps

When your hot water system stops working it can be a real disaster. Not only do you have the inconvenience of having cold showers but the cost of repairs can be hefty depending on whats wrong. There are however things you can do to get the most out of your current hot water system and reduce the likely hood of needing expensive repairs done

Turn your system down - I know what you might be thinking, “but Richie I like a good hot long shower!” Don’t we all. My point is that more than 70% of all houses we attend have there hot water system turned up too high, not only does this cost you more to run but it puts extra stress on the tank which shortens its life. It also burns out the thermo couple quicker and shortens the life of the burners. So do your self and your system a favour and turn your system down

Release the PTR - whats the PTR you ask? It's the little valve on the right hand side of your system which acts as a safety release valve when the system is heating. Releasing this every 6 months allows the valve to open to full position which ensures it will work when you need it to.

Don’t cover your system - we have repeatedly seen home made covers for systems that effect the way the system works. Placing cover over your unit can restrict the air flow into and out of the system which can effect the combustion and in some cases stop the system working all together.

Keep your grass short - This may seem like an obvious one but we have seen some systems that have grass actually growing inside of them because the lawn was not kept under control. Keeping the access panel on and grass away from your system ensures it works as it is supposed to.

Don’t let pets dig under your system - Dogs love to dig right? Yep! well some dogs may see your foundations under your hot water as the perfect place to invest some digging time honing there skills. Unfortunately if the foundations are moved and the system starts to lean, you’ll be calling your plumber soon as the system will eventually turn its self off and you will more than likely need to re install the system from scratch. Soo… ensure your dogs dig up the roses instead of your hot water system.

How hot should your hot water be?

Can your hot water system actually be too hot? Does it really matter that much? Hot water inside the home is a necessary part of every day life. We use it from cleaning the dishes to showering the dog. So its important that this is done safely. Water that is hotter than 60 degrees is very dangerous especially to older senior citizens and younger children too.

However your water temperature can be too cold. With water sitting at lower temperatures Legionella can grow causing serious health concerns.

Above 70 °C : Legionella dies almost instantly

At 60 °C : 90% die in 2 minutes

At 50 °C : 90% die in 80–124 minutes, depending on strain

At 48 to 50 °C : Can survive but do not multiply

Ideal growth range

Setting too high can scald someone using the water. Setting the water too low can grow Legionella, so what temperature should you set your water. So what should you do?<

Check your hot water temperature - If you have a thermometer at home, run some hot water and test it. The temperature should be no hotter than 55 degrees at the tap, if it is hotter than that you should have your system turned down

Adjust your tempering valve - If your not sure what this is we don't recommend attempting this step on your own. If you do, Check what setting your hot water system is at and then check your tempering valve setting. Your system should be set to 60 degrees or hotter but the tempering valve should be set to deliver water no hotter than 55 degrees at the house

Lower your hot water costs in 3 easy steps

Many of us are concerned about the rising cost of gas and electricity and with hot water making up approx 1/3 of your energy bill why not keep it as low as possible. We have put together 3 easy steps that anyone can do at home to keep your hot water energy bill as low as possible

Limit your showers - now before you get all angry with me, let me explain. What I don’t mean is cut your shower time down to 2 minutes and only shower once a day, by all means if you can do this it will make a big difference. what I mean is if you are customer to taking a good 20 minute shower, lets try to knock that down to 15 minutes. Ideally a 5 minute shower is what we are aiming for but lets take baby steps. Tasks like brushing your teeth can be done at the basin with cold water for example, rather than in the shower. You with me?

Turn your hot water system down - This may seem obvious but 80-90% of all hot water systems are set too hot. Reducing the temperature in the tank greatly reduces the running costs and also makes your system last longer! Double whammy! and you also have less chance of scolding yourself or young children too.

(Side note, hot water must be stored at 60 degrees or higher to prevent bugs developing in the system.)

Wash on cold water - This little tip can not only save on your hot water use it can also save you clothes too. Most modern machines have the ability to wash on cold water only and some only come with cold water supply. You will need to buy cold water detergent, so once your done with your current supply, make the switch to cold, you’ll never go back 🙂

Follow these simple steps and you’ll instantly save money on your hot water running costs

5 things you can do to prevent a blocked drain

Blocked drains can be a real emergency especially if your whole house gets blocked up and you cant use the toilet or shower so here's 5 things you can do right now to prevent a blocked drain. Did you know that some household blockages can actually be prevented and there things you can do your self to stop it happening?

Keep toilet paper to a minimum - This may seem a little odd, especially as toilets are designed to be used with toilet paper. However, using too much toilet paper can cause your drain or toilet to block. So how much is too much? Well thats a tricky one. Different toilets have different flow rates and outlet sizes so there is no none rule fits all here. However if you flush the toilet and the water level rises a significant amount before draining, its a good sign you have overloaded the toilet.

Use stick on fresheners instead of the cage types - While cage type toilet fresheners are common, it is also common for them to get accidentally flushed down into the drain where they get stuck. Fortunately there are new stick on types that can be used that stick directly onto the side of the bowl. Not only these pose no threat at all to your drains, they are actually more hiegenic as there is nowhere for the germs to hide.

Put food scraps and oil in the bin - This should be an obvious one but we are all guilty of trying to push those few pesky food scraps through the drain grate after we have finished washing the dishes. While its definitely not as pleasant to remove them by hand and place them in the bin, it does save your drains from food build up which may eventually cause a blockage

Clean your shower drain - Hair has to be the most common reason we see for shower drains to block up. You have you someone in the house who brushes their hair in the shower or it may even be you. You can rest assured that some of that hair is getting stuck and over time will cause your drain to block. Most showers these days can be cleaned by hand by removing the grate and this should be done often enough to keep the drain cleared.

Keep kids away from outside drains - Kids love to explore and experiment, and the drain connection pipe in your rear yard can be an attractive object to experiment. “Lets see how many toys we can get inside that drain” If you have a child that would love to play this game, it could be time for a chat or better yet find a new play area. Toys may be fun to put in the drain but they are not fun or easy to get out.

What to do when your drain blocks up

So you have a blocked drain. Your stressed and your not sure what to do. In fact your pulling your hair out right now. Well, we understand having a blocked drain can be stressful but don't worry, follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to getting your home back to normal

Stop using the drain. This may seem obvious however just because the toilet flushes doesn’t mean the contents of said toilet are actually going where they should. Using your drain when you know you have a blockage only makes the cleaning and unblocking process more difficult. Not to mention messy.

Organise your plumber. Now is the time to get professional help. You'll need a plumber who has lots of experience and the right equipment for the job. Blocked drains can be complicated and should only be tackled by trained professionals

Keep children and pets away from the area - while they might think its an interesting thing to play with, blocked drains can leave a mess that is not only unsightly and foul but also unhygienic as well. Keep your kids and pets safe by keeping them away from the effected area

Close any doors that lead to the area - the last thing you want is anyone touching or accessing the area. Make sure that any unsuspecting guests don't accidentally enter the area but making sure all doors to the area are locked or noticed put in place

If you have sewerage inside your home try to clean this with a mop and bucket. Sometimes some sewerage will end up inside your home. To prevent damage to your home and to keeps smells and germs at bay, it is a good idea to clean the area as soon as you can with a mop and bucket. Try adding some detergent into the bucket as well to help the smell and kill the germs

Wait for help to arrive - let the professionals deal with the drain blockage while you relax. Your drain professional will know what type of blockage you have and the best way to fix it. They will be arriving with a professional drain cleaning vehicle and will be assessing your home as soon as they arrive. They will also be letting you know the charges up front for any works before they start.

What to do if you have a burst water pipe

First of all don’t panic – Finding out you have a burst water pipe can be scary and it can cause a lot of damage to your home if left untreated, however there are things you can do which will help the situation and one of those is not to panic

Turn the water off if you can – Find your water meter (Usually located outside in the front yard) and turn the water off. This will stop the flow of water into your home and therefore stop the water leak. It will mean that all of your taps will not work, so fill up the kettle before you do this

Clean up any water – after you notice you have a water leak, you usually find water on your floor or near walls. To prevent further damage to your home and to reduce the risk of people falling due to slipping on the water, clean up any water that is laying around with a mop and bucket. That way you’ll kep the floors dry and keep everyone in your home safe at the same time

Call your plumber – You will need a qualified professional to take care of the burst water pipe in your home. Organise your plumber as soon as you can. This way you’ll get your leak fixed and your home back up and running sooner rather than later

Move any furniture if needed – If you have furniture sitting around the effected area that could be damaged either from water on the floor or plumbing works taking place in the area, it will be best to move the furniture out of the way that way it wont get damaged. You can always move it back once the plumbing works have been completed

Once you have Organised your plumber and gotten your house ready you can relax. Your plumbing professional will know exactly what to do when he arrives and will be explaining everything to you when he does. He’ll also be explaining prices up front before he starts so there’ll be no nasty surprises