Know your shut-off valves under the counter (2023)




Aaron Stickley

Aaron Stickley

Aaron Stickley is a licensed plumber with 15 years experience in commercial plumbing, new residential construction and residential service and repair. He started his own home services and plumbing repair business. Aaron's plumbing articles in The Spruce span four years.

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Updated 8/4/22

reviewed by

Richard Epstein

Know your shut-off valves under the counter (1)

reviewed byRichard Epstein

Richard Epstein is a licensed master plumber with over 40 years experience installing residential and commercial plumbing. He specializes in estimating, design and engineering of plumbing systems and works for one of the largest unionized plumbing contractors in New York.

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Jessica Wrubel

(Video) Sink Shut Off Valve / How To Choose The Right Sink Shut-Off Valve

Know your shut-off valves under the counter (2)

fact confirmed byJessica Wrubel

Jessica Wrubel has extensive experience as a writer and proofreader, working for various publications, newspapers and public libraries, assisting with references, research and special projects. In addition to her journalism background, she has been teaching health and wellness topics in and out of the classroom for over 15 years.

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Undercounter shut-off valves, also known as shut-off valves or shut-off valves, allow you to do thisclose the faucetto your sink (or other fixtures) without having to use your home's master lock. These inexpensive little valves are rarely used, but when they are, they sometimes leak. Luckily, it's easy to replace a leaking shut-off valve with a new part that fits the old one. Several different valves are used for domestic plumbing to determine what type of valve it iswater shut-off valveIf you have one, a good first step is to replace it.

Below you will learn about nine types of undercounter shutoff valves and their purpose so that you can replace or identify valves in your homeRepair your plumbingAccesories

The 8 Best Pistons of 2022

  • 01ab 09

    straight stop valve

    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (4)

    • Better for: Vertical water supply lines from floors or closets

    Straight shut-off valves are usually found where the water supply line exits under the floor or closet. The appropriate supply hose connects to the top of the valve in the same line as the supply line. The handle of a straight stop is located in the center of the valve body between the inlet and outlet ports. These valves are often made of chrome plated brass for durability and are very affordable at most hardware stores.

  • 02ab 09


    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (5)

    • Better for: Water lines from walls with right angle valve inlets and outlets

    Angled shut-off valves are typically used when the water line exits the wall and the outlet side of the valve is perpendicular to the inlet side. The handle of a corner gate valve is parallel to the wall and usually faces forward for easy access. Corner check valves are typically made of copper or chrome plated brass and are more durable over time than CPVC. These valves are priced similar to direct closing valves.

  • 03ab 09

    Three-way shut-off valve

    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (6)

    (Video) How to Install a Water Shut off Valve for Beginners
    • Better for: Kitchen sinks with multiple plumbing requirements

    Three-way shut-off valves have one inlet and two outlets. These can often be seen under kitchen sinks, where they power both the hot water tap on the faucet and the dishwasher. Three-way stops can come in a few different configurations. Some are cruciform with the two outlet ports facing in opposite directions, some have "L" outlets and some have "Y" outlets. Like straight shut-off valves, three-way shut-off valves are usually made from durable chrome-plated brass (but tend to cost a little more).

  • 04ab 09

    compression shut-off valve

    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (7)

    • Better for: Installation in rigid copper pipes without soldering

    Compression shut-off valves are most commonly used to install a shut-off valve on rigid copper tubing, but some can also be found for copper, PEX, and CPVC tubing. This type of valve has a brass ring called a ferrule and a swivel nut that presses the ferrule onto the pipe joint to create a tight seal. Compression valves are easy to install with just a pair of pliers or a wrench and are known to be very reliable. You can also delete and reuse them. Sometimes it is difficult to remove the old nut and ferrule from the pipe; in this case you can use a to remove themCompression Sleeve Puller. Compression valves can be found inexpensively at most hardware stores.

    How to replace a compression check valve

    Continue with 5 of 9 below.

  • 05ab 09

    Welding shut-off valve made of copper

    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (8)

    • Better for: Direct welding to rigid copper tubing

    A welding valve made of copper is used for sweating orwelded to a rigid copper tube. "Sweat" is a plumber's term for welding. This requires soldering tools like a flashlight, flux, emery cloth, and solder. Solder valves are not easily removed once installed because they must be heated to melt the solder in order to remove the valve from the pipeline. This type of under-sink valve is usually made of heavy-duty, chrome-plated brass and is available at most hardware stores at affordable prices.


    Always use lead-free solder when soldering copper tubing attached to your plumbing. Your local hardware store can help you find solder that's specifically designed for copper tubing without the risk of lead contaminating your home's water.

  • 06ab 09

    iron pipe stump

    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (9)

    • Better for: Galvanized or threaded brass tubes

    Iron globe valves have an inlet port with female and iron pipe size threads. This type of valve is commonly found on threaded galvanized or brass pipe, but can be adapted to other types of pipe by using a male iron pipe adapter that is pushed into the pipe and then screwed onto the shut-off valve. .

    Iron pipe valves are simply screwed on and off at the end of the pipe. The only tools needed are two pairs of pliers: one to hold the tube in place and the other to squeeze the valve. Chrome plated brass versions are available which cost significantly less than cast iron gate valves and are more durable over time.

  • 07ab 09

    CPVC shut-off valve

    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (10)

    (Video) Where is my Stopcock? How do I turn the hot water off?

    • Better for: Connection to CPVC pipe

    A CPVC shut off valve has a CPVC insert that allows you to glue the chrome plated brass valve into the CPVC pipe using solvent cement. Solvent glue must be rated for this type of pipe to ensure a reliable connection. Once the valve is glued in place it cannot be removed and then needs to be cutRepair a PVC pipein the future. Luckily, installing a new CPVC valve is very affordable, with prices comparable to other inexpensive shut-off valves.

  • 08ab 09

    PEX shut-off valve

    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (11)

    • Better for: Connection to PEX plumbing pipes

    PEX shut-off valves used on PEX tubing have a ribbed inlet port for insertion into the tubing. This type of valve works with PEX ring or pinch clamps. Although PEX tools are required for installation (as opposed to press-in valves), these are usually the easiest and cheapest way to do it, especially if you're already using PEX clamps or snap rings.

    PEX shut off valves can be removed but you will have to cut the ring. This often results in tube damage, which usually means the tube has to be trimmed to get a fresh length of tubing for the new valve. These valves are usually made of brass or chrome-plated brass and can be replaced on a budget.

    Installation of PEX pipes - overview

    Continue with 9 of 9 below.

  • 09ab 09


    Know your shut-off valves under the counter (12)

    • Better for: Easy installation with copper, PEX or CPVC plumbing tubing

    Push-fit or push-in shut-off valves are very easy to install and can be used with copper, PEX and CPVC tubing. These brass or chrome-plated brass valves are simply pushed onto the pipe. The valve clamps onto the pipe with metal prongs and seals tightly with a plastic O-ring. They can also be removed with a simple tool sold by the manufacturer and are priced similarly to other shut off valves.

    All about push-fit plumbing fittings and how they work

Choose a shut-off valve under the sink

When determining what type of under sink shut-off valve you need, first determine which pipes the valve will connect to. For example, a vertical water line from the floor or closet should be used with a straight stop valve, while angle and three-way stop valves are generally used in right-angle or multi-pipe installations.

It's also important to consider the type of piping your valve shuts off. Several valves are available for copper, PEX and CPVC tubing and the correct option must be selected based on the tubing material. If you are not sure what type of stop valve you need,consult a plumberYou can also turn off your home's main water supply, remove your current valve, and take it to your local hardware store for professional help in finding a suitable replacement.

frequently asked Questions

  • What is the most common valve under the kitchen sink?

    A corner shut-off valve or pinch valve is the most common valve under the kitchen sink. If the house has a dishwasher and is hooked up to the sink, the valve is likely a three-way shut-off valve.

  • Why are there multiple faucets under the kitchen sink?

    One pipe (and its valve) brings hot water to the faucet and a second pipe delivers cold water. If you have a third valve, it could indicate that you have an electric water heater under your sink that heats the water at the source and connects it back to the faucet.

  • Is the hot water valve on the left or right side?

    (Video) Shutoff Valve Repair for Bathrooms (Quick Tips) -- by Home Repair Tutor

    In the US, the hot water line is on the left, while the cold water line and accessories are on the right.

best plumbing

article sources

The Spruce uses only quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. read ourspublishing processto learn more about how we review our content and keep it accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. lead in drinking water. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • 7 Different Types of Water Shutoff Valves and How to Choose One
  • How to replace copper pipes with PEX
  • How to prevent outdoor faucets from freezing
  • Polybutylene (PB) pipe repair tips
  • How to replace a compression check valve
  • 4 different types of copper tubing and how to choose one
  • How to install a self-drilling shut-off valve
  • How to replace a main water shutoff valve
  • How to fix water hammer in pipes
  • 7 different types of plumbing pipe and how to choose one
  • How to fix a leaking faucet with two handles
  • Comparison Copper vs. Copper PEX and SharkBite Push-Fit
  • How to replace an RV water heater
  • How to replace a freezeproof (freezeproof) faucet
  • How do you move a toilet
  • Easy kitchen plumbing projects you can do yourself
(Video) How to Locate Your Main Water Shut Off


How do I know if my valves are shut off? ›

To determine if a water valve is open or closed, there is a simple general rule you can usually follow. Basically, if the handle is turned 90 degrees to the flow, the valve is switched off.

What are the 3 valves under kitchen sink? ›

Under kitchen sinks, there will typically be three shut off valves. The two uppermost valves will be the hot and cold valves for the sink faucet. The lower valve is for the dishwasher. Conventionally, these valves would connect to the faucet in the same way as bathroom valves/faucets with replaceable supply lines.

What are the shut off valves under the sink called? ›

Under-sink shutoff valves, also called fixture shutoffs or stop valves, allow you to turn off the water to your sink (or other fixtures) without having to use your home's main shutoff. These inexpensive little valves rarely get used, but when they do, they sometimes leak.

Where is my kitchen shut-off valve? ›

Kitchen Sink Typically, your kitchen's water shutoff valves are the easiest to find because they're usually under the sink or near the bottom of the sink cabinet. Your sink has piping leading to the faucet, so the valves should be on the piping underneath the sink.

Should water shut off valves be fully open? ›

Ball valves may be the most reliable valve and are commonly used for main water shut offs. Similar to gate valves, ball valves should be all the way open to allow the full flow of water or all the way closed to restrict all water from flowing.

Where are water shut off valves located? ›

The valve is usually located close to where the water main enters your home. If the valve isn't there, you may find it near the water heater or furnace. If the location is hard to access, you may want to consider having a secondary valve installed somewhere easier to get to, for example, under the kitchen sink.

What are the two main water shut off valves? ›

While many types of water valves are available today, the two most common residential water shutoff valves are gate valves and ball valves. Gate valves have traditional, circular handles that raise and lower a gate located inside of a water pipe to stop and start the flow of water into it.

Is toilet and sink shut-off valve the same? ›

Sinks – The shutoff valve for sinks are usually located in the cabinet underneath the sink. If there is a leak in a faucet or sink pipe, turning off this valve will stop water flow to the sink. Toilet – These shutoff valves are located on the wall behind the toilet.

Do you need a shut-off valve under sink? ›

The toilet, the shower, the bathroom sink, and every other plumbing in your home should have their own shut-off valve.

What is a kitchen shut-off valve? ›

These valves allow you to stop the flow of water through your pipes before they get to a fixture such as a faucet, showerhead, toilet, or appliance.

Why can't I find my water shut-off valve? ›

If your home is built on a slab, check in the garage or near the water heater for the shut off valve. Next, check outside your house. If the water main shut off valve is located outside, it will be buried underground near the street. Look for a round or rectangular metal cover flush with the grass or sidewalk.

Is it OK to leave water valve half open? ›

NOTE: This valve should always be completely open or completely closed – never leave half-open to control the amount of flow into the house. It is not designed to be left partially open.

Can you over tighten a water shut-off valve? ›

Nevertheless, if you find yourself experiencing fluid leaks, it's time to check your various tubing connections and see if they've been tightened too tightly. If a valve is over-tightened, it deforms the tubing and the connection, as mentioned earlier.

How long should water run after turning off main valve? ›

After all faucets are open, let the COLD WATER run for at least 30 minutes. During this time, also flush each toilet in your home 2 or 3 times. Running the COLD WATER should remove any old (stagnant) water which may contain higher concentrations of metals including lead, if it exists in your service line or plumbing.

What does the outside water shut-off valve look like? ›

Look for a rectangular or round cover that will be near the edge of your property, often between the curb and the sidewalk. Some water main valves are located along an alley, rather than the street. The cover may be metal or plastic, and it might say “water meter” to help with identification.

How do I know if my water shut-off valve is open? ›

Open or closed: When the handle of a ball valve is parallel to the valve or pipe, it's open. When it's perpendicular, it's closed. This makes it easy to know if a ball valve is open or closed, just by looking at it.

Where is the water shut off switch? ›

In a home the inside stop tap is usually located under the kitchen sink, but can also be in an airing cupboard or under the floorboards near the front door. You should be able to operate the valve yourself. Turning the valve clockwise will close it, reducing the amount of water passing through.

Which valve is used to stop water supply? ›

A gate valve is the most common valve for water supply systems. It represents a linear-motion isolation valve and has a function to stop or allow the flow. Gate valves got their name from the closure element sliding into the flow stream to provide shutoff and, therefore, acting like a gate.

Which valve is my main water shut off? ›

Places to Check for the Main Water Shut-Off Valve

The incoming water line usually comes through the foundation near the front side of your house. Follow this line up to the water meter. Just past the meter should be the main water shut-off valve, a red or green handle or knob.

Which shut off valves should be open and which close? ›

Which shut-off valves should be open and which closed? All shut-off valves should be in the open position, except the rear shut-off valves.

Why is my water still dripping after turned off? ›

If you notice your bathroom sink drips or leaks out of the faucet head when turned off, there is likely an issue with the seal inside the faucet head, allowing the water to run through or drip. Before calling a professional plumber, consider whether you're able to repair the leak in your bathroom sink yourself.

How do I turn down the water pressure under my sink? ›

Adjust the valve underneath the sink

If you wish to reduce the water pressure to a particular faucet, turn the valves clockwise by a quarter rotation. Make sure to turn the cold and hot water valves equally to create more consistent water pressure.

What are the three types of valve control? ›

In this blog post we will be covering 3 common types of control valve: Double Block and Bleed, Manifolds and Ball Valves.
  • Double Block And Bleed Valves. Double Block & Bleed Valves provide primary isolation when directly mounted onto process pipework. ...
  • Manifold Valves. ...
  • Ball Valves.
Dec 5, 2016

Do houses have two water shut off valves? ›

Every home has two main water shutoff valves: one inside the house and the other by where your property meets the street. The simplest way to shut off all water running through your house is to know where the main valve is located inside your house.

What does a shut-off valve look like on a toilet? ›

The shutoff valve itself is typically football-shaped and connected to a pipe or hose attached to the bottom of the tank of your toilet. On the other end of this pipe should be a connection to the wall. It's important to note that some older toilets do not have shut-off valves behind them.

What are the two valves under bathroom sink? ›

Shutoff Valves

They are seen in pairs: one valve controls the hot water; the other controls the cold water. Many shutoff valves use compression fittings, so they can be installed onto the water pipes without soldering. But you will have to turn off the water to the house to replace a shutoff valve.

What do the valves under the sink do? ›

Supply stop valves primarily control water flow to household plumbing fixtures. They are usually located where the water pipe enters the room, such as behind the toilet or under the sink. This allows easy water shut-off to the fixture for maintenance and repair without having to turn water off to the entire home.

Does every sink drain need a vent? ›

Whether you're putting in a tub, toilet, sink, or floor drain, they all need a plumbing vent on the drain to make it work properly. If there is no vent, a number of problems may occur: The fixture without a vent may drain slowly. The drain will likely make gurgling noises.

How much does it cost to replace a shut-off valve under a sink? ›

The average cost to replace water shut-off valves is $285. The price depends on the quality of the valve, additional tools needed and whether or not you hire a plumber.
Average Cost to Replace Water Shut-Off Valve
Average Cost$285
Highest Cost$600
Lowest Cost$150
Jan 25, 2023

Does every plumbing fixture require a shut-off valve? ›

❖ Within the dwelling, a shutoff valve is required on the fixture supply pipe to each plumbing fixture except for bathtubs and showers. Bathtubs and showers typically do not have shutoff valves because it could be difficult to provide access to valves for locations such as upper-story bathrooms.

Is water shut-off valve by water heater? ›

In newer homes, the water main shutoff valve is typically located inside or around the water heater closet. Very often, however, the valve can be in any number of places inside, or even outside your home.

How do I trace a water line in my house? ›

Today, the best tool for the job is ground penetrating radar (GPR) as it accurately maps metal and PVC pipes. Traditional pipe locators use electricity and magnets to locate underground pipes.

How do you fix a stuck shut-off valve? ›

Stuck valve: If you simply can't turn the valve, which happens often with fixture shut-offs and old-fashioned main shut-offs, you may need to spray the valve with WD-40 and give it time to lubricate before trying again.

When should a shut-off valve be replaced? ›

It's important for every homeowner to know that most homes come with compression valves which are not designed to last. The compression aspect of the valve usually fails to work after about 8-10 years. This usually fails either with wear and tear or simply because it's old and has been in the home for a long time.

What are the important shut off valves in a home? ›

The customer shutoff valve stops the flow of water at the meter. The master shutoff valve located outside the home shuts off water to the house, and Individual or supply shutoff valves shut off water to specific appliances and fixtures such as toilets and washing machines.

Which way do you turn a valve to shut it off? ›

In most cases, the master shutoff valve to the home will have a wheel (gate valve) or a straight handle (ball valve). Gate valves (pictured to the right) are operated by turning the wheel clockwise until the water is off. Ball valves are operated by turning the handle a quarter-turn clockwise until the water is off.

What color are water shut off valves? ›

Inside Locations. If your main valve is located inside your home, it can most likely be found in one of three places: your basement or crawlspace, your garage, or near your water heater. This is a small knob that is most likely labeled as your emergency shut off valve and probably red in color.

Which way do you turn water valve to shut it off? ›

When it comes to which way you should turn the valve, keep in mind the old saying “righty tighty, lefty loosey.” In other words, turning a valve clockwise, or to the right, will restrict the flow of water while turning it counterclockwise, or to the left, will allow water to flow.

What determines when valves will open and close? ›

The speed of the engine determines how early the exhaust valve opens. At low RPM's the valve opens early and at high RPM's the valve opens late.

Are valves close to the left or right? ›

Generally speaking, the valve is basically closed clockwise and opened counterclockwise, or called left open and right closed. Because most people are accustomed to using the right hand, it is easier to turn clockwise than counterclockwise when using the right hand.

How long does it take for water to stop after turning off main valve? ›

Turning the valve clockwise will close it, reducing the amount of water passing through. It may take a few minutes for the water to stop altogether.

What does a black valve mean? ›

The state of a valve is typically either open or closed. On an FD or P&ID, valve symbols are white to show that they are normally open, while completely black symbols show that they are normally closed.

What color is the main water valve for the house? ›

The incoming water line usually comes through the foundation near the front side of your house. Follow this line up to the water meter. Just past the meter should be the main water shut-off valve, a red or green handle or knob.

What are the three types of water valves? ›

They are different types of water valves designed for this purpose, including ball valves, cartridges, ceramic disc valves and compression valves. Many are used as tub and shower valves. Cartridge valves are designed with a movable stem inside a plastic cartridge that can be raised or lowered to regulate flow.

Why are there two water shut off valves? ›

Most homes actually have two such valves: One for outside water sources, which is generally controlled by the city you live in, plus one for your indoor plumbing and water areas.

Why is my water still running after I turned it off? ›

There may be a hidden plumbing leak in the walls of your home, or maybe your toilet is running when it's not in use. These “hidden” leaks can cause your home to be using water even when your main water valve is turned off.

What will happen if the valves will not closed? ›

Diseased valves can become “leaky” where they don't completely close; this is called regurgitation. If this happens, blood leaks back into the chamber that it came from and not enough blood can be pushed forward through the heart.

What happens when the valve doesn't close properly? ›

If a valve doesn't open or close properly, blood flow through the heart to the body can be reduced. In mitral valve regurgitation, the valve flaps don't close tightly. Blood leaks backward when the valve is closed, making it harder for the heart to work properly.

What happens if valve timing is incorrect? ›

If the valve timing is incorrect, not only will the engine not run, but the piston could smash into the valves, causing catastrophic damage. Usually, the result is bent valves and damaged pistons.


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