Where are cutoff valves for shower?
June 11, 2011 11:16 AM   Subscribe

How can I find the cutoff valves for my shower?

They're easily accessible for sink and toilet, but can't find shower's. Are they sometimes behind a wall with no access?
posted by LonnieK to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
Sometimes they're in the wall. Sometimes they don't exist at all.

If you're looking to replace the shower head, you should be able to remove that without needing to shut off the water to the shower. If you need to do more, you might have to shut off water further up the line.
posted by achmorrison at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2011

Mine are behind a panel in an adjacent room.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:35 AM on June 11, 2011

I don't have any (and from what I know I had none in the 3 last places I lived in). But I have valves for everything else (toilets, sinks, even the exterior faucet). YMMV.
posted by ddaavviidd at 11:44 AM on June 11, 2011

I do not have any either. I have a t-shaped tool which will "kill" my water from the street. I am not supposed to do this, but paying the utility to do it any time I have changed out various fixtures, would be prohibitive.

I recommend having one.
posted by Danf at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2011

They are quite often behind a wall without access. I can't access anything other than the valves immediately behind the H/C knobs. If you're looking for the mixing valve quite often you'll have no access to that other than breaking open the wall. I guess its the homeowner's equivalent to Apple's non user replaceable laptop batteries.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 11:50 AM on June 11, 2011

But if you're looking for a master water cutoff they are quite often located near the water meter. I can cut off water to the entire house from this cutoff. the water will still be on from the street to the meter, but no farther than here.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 11:53 AM on June 11, 2011

I just finished building my house, and nothing in the building code required shutoff valves for the tub/shower. I guess it's assumed that the tub/shower control itself is sufficient. When working on the shower head/tub spout, that is all you need.

If you're working on the actual tub/shower control, then you need to turn off the water for the house. There should be a main control valve for the house (or section of house that has your shower). If not, then you can always turn off the water at the street where your water meter is.
posted by jpeacock at 12:17 PM on June 11, 2011

Typically you turn off the water to the house/apt. If you're in an apt building it may be that you have to turn off the building water supply.
posted by rhizome at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2011

Looks like cutoff at the street for me -- I need to replace one of the on-off valves. Thanks all.
posted by LonnieK at 1:22 PM on June 11, 2011

There might be a closer valve where your water heater is.
posted by rhizome at 1:26 PM on June 11, 2011

Looks like cutoff at the street for me

You probably already thought of this, but while you've got the water shut off at the curb stop, go ahead and install an inside shutoff.
posted by Bruce H. at 3:45 PM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you have a basement? Every house that I have ever lived in has had a main shutoff there. It shuts off water for the whole house. Sometimes this has been located on the pipes that run along the ceiling or near where the water main comes into the house. I guess from some of the answers here that that is not always the case?
posted by futz at 5:59 AM on June 12, 2011

Looks like cutoff at the street for me...

There should be a main valve inside the house somewhere. It's usually near where the water enters the house and splits to send water to the heater.

I've never understood why so many homes are built with no shut-offs for the shower/bath line. My house doesn't have them, either. I'm guessing it has to do with baths/showers being stuck along a wall or in a corner, and the water service being inside the wall, necessitating an access panel being cut in the other side of the wall.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:21 AM on June 12, 2011

If you're shutting off the water to the house and then draining the lines (which you probably will be doing, as you are replacing the valves), make sure you shut off your hot water tank first. Especially with an electric unit, if it is running while (mostly) empty, the element can burn out very quickly.
posted by xedrik at 1:04 PM on June 12, 2011

I would certainly like to install an in-house cutoff, but that seems a little beyond my skills. (And in fact there is one in the basement that doesn't work. I turn it fully one way, or fully the other -- to no affect.)
But progress is being made. Thanks hive.
posted by LonnieK at 5:09 AM on June 13, 2011

posted by LonnieK at 7:19 AM on June 13, 2011

And in fact there is one in the basement that doesn't work. I turn it fully one way, or fully the other -- to no effect.

Saw this happen in our old (1927) office building. Had the plumber come in for a bathroom remodel, and asked about the bizarre shut-off valve. He said that sometimes valves can break, and get stuck in the "open" or "closed" position, despite turning it to full-stop one way or the other. Had him cut it out and replace it while he was here; he did have to use the street shut-off for that.
posted by xedrik at 9:38 AM on June 13, 2011

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