How to Turn Off Your Main Water Supply in Sydney, New South Wales

Woman fixing leaking pipe under kitchen sink 21

You wake up in the middle of the night to find your Sydney home quickly flooding with water. It’s a plumbing emergency! You frantically look around for the source of this sudden disaster, and you consider calling emergency plumbers. And then you find it - a burst pipe spraying water everywhere! 

Ever faced this situation? Well, a lot of people do — and they don’t necessarily know what to do next! 

The first thing you need to do is turn off the water supply to that pipe immediately and stop the flow of water. To find out why you might need to turn off your main water supply and how you can go about it, read our full guide below.

We’ll provide a full action plan and explain how you can turn off your water supply if you live in Sydney, New South Wales.

Why Would You Need to Turn Off Your Main Water Supply?

It’s not every day that you will need to turn off your main water supply, but in some cases, it is entirely unavoidable. It may not always be a viable option since you will have to come up with an alternative for water supply, but despite this, turning off the main water supply may still be the best course of action.

Here are some situations where you may be forced to switch off your flow of water: 

  • Polluted water or other issues in the water supply
  • A dripping tap or dripping shower head
  • Other issues that can lead to catastrophic water damage

Other than these issues that are not in your control, you may want to turn off the main water supply for:

  • Replacement of plumbing fixtures or systems
  • Comprehensive repair or maintenance of plumbing systems

In a nutshell, if you feel that you are facing a plumbing issue that may get consistently worse until it is fixed, you want to close off the main water supply to prevent more damage in your home. At the very least, you would want to turn off the supply to a specific appliance or fixture that may be broken or causing an issue.

Keep in mind that not all plumbing issues require you to close off the main valve, and for a lot of indoor jobs, turning off the indoor supply valve should suffice. 

Now for the more prominent question — how to turn off your main water supply? Well, that is what we will cover in the next section. Keep reading!

How to Turn Off Your Main Water Supply in Sydney, New South Wales?

Now that you know when to consider turning off the main water supply in your Sydney home, it’s time to find out how to do it. Knowing how to switch off your water could be the difference between a little bit of water damage and a completely flooded basement, so it’s essential to act fast and know exactly what you're doing.

Most importantly, it’s essential to cut off your main water supply before you take any other steps. Here is a list of different ways to turn off your water, including where the water supply is located and how to switch it off.

For Water Heaters

If you run into an issue with your hot water system and any of the connected taps and pipes, your immediate action should be to cut off the water supply for your heater to prevent leaks.

When it comes to residential hot water, every heater will have a cold water inlet pipe and a hot water outlet pipe. To cut off the water supply to any of the pipes attached to your heater, you must close the shutoff valve that controls the flow of hot water in the outlet pipe. Doing so will prevent any more hot water from exiting the heater.

On the other hand, if the leak is in one of the pipes that leads to the cold water inlet pipe in the heater, you may need to close off the shutoff valve for the inlet pipe. This will prevent any water from entering the heater so you can easily fix, repair or replace your water heater.

Water heating companies generally differentiate the two closely located pipes by colour-coding the water valves.  The shutoff valve to the cold water inlet pipe generally has a blue handle, and the one for the hot water outlet pipe has a red handle.

When you’re dealing with hot water, it’s always best to be careful. Always wear protective equipment when turning your water supply on or off to avoid any injuries.

For Other Appliances or Fixtures

Just like your hot water heater, other appliances such as your washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator also are connected to your main pipeline. This includes your kitchen and bathroom sinks, toilets, and every faucet in your home.

There are ways to cut off the water supply to these appliances if you are sure that one of these appliances or fixtures is causing the leakage.

All appliances have a water shutoff valve similar to your water heater that can be closed off to cut the main water supply to that appliance. As well as this, you can easily locate the shutoff valve under the sink or next to the toilet to cut the water supply to these plumbing fixtures.

Sometimes, you can't locate the shutoff valve to a specific appliance. Other times, you are unsure what a specific valve might be for. In these situations, it’s best to act with caution. In these cases, call an emergency plumber immediately to understand the next course of action.

Tip: Drain the remaining water after you close the shutoff valve. This ensures your pipes are empty when repairs take place. To do this, open a faucet and wait for the water to stop flowing.

Water Meter

Last Resort

If you discover a leak you can’t isolate, cut off your water supply at the water meter. This should be your last resort. Moreover, you should always try to shut off the water at a specific fixture or appliance whenever possible.

To switch off your water supply at the meter, locate the meter itself or the water meter box. It is usually located at the front of your property near your outdoor faucet (outdoor tap). The meter will either be above ground or just below ground underneath a council cover plate. If your meter is underneath a cover plate, lift the plate off or pry it open using a screwdriver.

The shutoff valve is a single lever connected to a ball valve, a T-shaped handle, or a wheel-shaped handle. You should turn it clockwise to shut it off. Remember to keep turning the handle until it stops to ensure that the supply is completely cut off. We highly recommend wearing protective gloves or using protective equipment while turning the water valve.

Here’s a helpful video to shut off the main water supply the right way:

Tip: If you can't turn the handle with your hands, use pliers or a screwdriver.

Other Notes

Your local council or water authority is responsible for maintaining the inlet part of your water meter. This includes all the water pipes and parts that connect the meter to the city’s water supply. If you have a water leak or issue on this part of the meter, contact your local council.

As the homeowner or resident, you are responsible for maintaining the outlet part of the meter. This includes all the water supply pipes and parts that connect the meter to your property. If you have a leak or issue on this part of the meter, contact a local plumber. You don't need the council’s permission for it.

Also, you don't need council permission to switch off your water supply at the meter. You should do so in an emergency if you cannot switch it off at the appliance or fixture.

Turn It Off the Right Way

There you have it — easy ways to turn off the main water supply valve in different kinds of situations. However, do not take any risks. This is true if you end up in a situation where you can't turn off the main supply. This is also applicable if you're unsure how to navigate the process. Call us and request a professional plumber take care of the issue for you.

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