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How to Shut Off the Water Supply to a Toilet? – 4 Methods

Paulk-Webb-author
Written by Paulk Webb
Freddie J. Hagopian
Fact checked by Freddie J. Hagopian

Published:

how to shut off the water supply to a toilet

You have to know how to shut off the water supply to a toilet as it’s needed in some situations. For example, you have to do it when you do the regular cleaning of your toilet and plumbing repairs.

You may turn off water to the toilet with its shut-off valve. In some instances, you can turn off the main valve or prop up the float lever to shut off water to the toilet. It’s also possible even if the toilet doesn’t have a valve. You’ll learn every detail as you continue reading.

Ways to Shut Off the Water Supply to a Toilet

turn-off-water-to-toilet

Although there are different situations where you need to turn the water off to a toilet, it’s not done too often. So, some may not be familiar with the process. Households have different settings of water supply so methods will vary as well.

Method 1: Through the toilet’s shut-off valve

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Shutting off the water supply through a toilet water valve is the most common method. Before learning about the right steps, you must know the valve’s description and location.

The toilet’s shut-off valve is either a lever or a round handle for those who can’t distinguish it. It has a 3/8″ or half-inch diameter.

This valve is a part of the plumbing fixture, so it’s connected to the water pipes. You’ll likely find it behind the toilet.

Step 1: Once you’ve found the toilet’s shut-off valve, you can work on disconnecting the water supply.

The lever type should be angled to the piping when you have the lever type. Moreover, push/pull it to the end, so you’re sure about completely closing it.

To shut off a round handle, you have to turn it clockwise. There’s no need to apply excessive force as you can break the handle.

Tip: When the rust gives you a hard time, you can use WD-40 Dry Lube to loosen it up.

Step 2: To confirm that you indeed turn the water off to the toilet, flush the toilet. If a refill won’t occur, it’s a sign that the water supply is temporarily unavailable.

Step 3: If the refill carries on, you must find the main shut-off valve. When the toilet’s lever has some issues, you can’t turn off the water, so you have to check it first before you start looking for the main valve.

Step 4: When you finish the necessary job, don’t forget to twist the toilet shut-off valve counterclockwise so you can turn the toilet water back on. Remember the steps so you won’t be confused about which way to turn the shut-off valve.

Method 2: Turning off the main shut-off valve

toilet-water-valve

Turning off the main shut-off valve

You can turn off the main shut-off valve outside or in an apartment or house. Shutting the valve is easy, but the struggle is finding its location, as some may not be aware of it.

Find the location of the main valve to stop the valve toilet.

You can start searching on the edges of your property. A curb valve may be on the main water line, so it’s on ground level. Here’s a guide on how to shut them off.

Gate Valve

The appearance of a gate valve is close to a faucet inside your house. You’ll need to turn it a few times to shut off the water supply.

Ball Valve

This straight handle goes along with the pipe when the water supply is on. You need to move it to a perpendicular position to shut it off.

The good thing about this valve is that it has a ‘stop’ component. So you won’t be confused about where to turn it. There’s only one direction to turn to.

Main Valve in a Streetside Utility Box

You must find the metal or plastic utility box where the main valve is encased. It’s also somewhere on your property’s boundary.

  • Street Side Valve – Contact the water company when you find the valve. They will send an emergency dispatch team to do it for you. It’s impossible to shut the valve even if you use a wrench.

You have to know that there are legal concerns when you turn off the main valve without permission. So, better contact the water company regarding the street side valve.

  • House Side Valve – This is situated beside the water meter. But it’s not always a valve, as it can be a nut you need to turn if you want to manage the water supply.

As mentioned, you can cut the water supply within the house.

You can do it with a shut-off valve which has the power to stop water from coming to your taps. The same effect goes for a toilet, bathroom sink, and tub.

You can get some ideas of its location from your property inspection report. Anyhow, here are some tips for locating and shutting it off.

  • You don’t have to make the search complicated. The shut-off valve is just around your house’s perimeter. You have to search at eye level when you’re in the basement. You may look up a bit too. Look down if you’re on the ground-level surface.
  • Although the valve is indoors, you must leave your house. You have to check the line in contact with the house’s perimeter. These water lines usually don’t have a long pathway. So you’ll find them with ease.
  • The shut-off valve is at the back of a plastic access panel. This type of valve comes with a PEX plumbing manifold.

It comes with two large PEX pipes due to the hot and cold water supply. You can easily shut off the valve to disconnect the water supply to the entire house.

Method 3: Prop up the float lever

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When the toilet or main valve is not working, you can prop up the float lever. Some homeowners would do this to save time and effort in searching the valve’s location.

However, this is only applicable to toilets with a ballcock valve.

The ballcock opens right away after flushing so it can fill the tank for the next flush. Its lever guides the water to the ideal level. When the water is at the specified level, the ballcock shuts the water supply.

  • Before flushing the toilet, open the tank first. You’ll see the ballcock floating over the water. After flushing, the lever sinks to the bottom but it rises when the tank becomes full.
  • Since your goal is to block the water supply, you have to maintain the perpendicular position of the lever. Once you do it, the valve will be shut underneath it.
  • You’ll need a piece of wood to keep the lever upright. A narrow piece is enough to be placed underneath. The wood’s bottom rests on the tank’s bottom to stop refills.

Method 4: Turning off the toilet with no valve

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The ultimate solution is to get into the main shut-off valve with any type of valve including the latest toilet models with a plastic valve. Don’t be confused about which direction you have to twist to shut off the water supply as it’s always clockwise.

Finding the main shut-off valve can be a challenge for some. It’s a big help if you’ve already known the location of the water meter.

You’ll likely find a ground box next to it and it’s where the main valve is. It’s placed outside in warmer areas but it’s in the basement in colder places.

Helpful Tips

shut-off-water-to-toilet

Where is the water shut-off valve on a toilet?

The toilet’s water shut-off valve is usually behind the unit or near the pipes or plumbing fixtures. Sadly, manufacturers don’t indicate its exact position, so you have to find it yourself.

Is it OK to turn off the water valve on the toilet?

There’s no problem when turning off the water valve on the toilet.

It’s even a must when you have shattered pipes, overflowing water, and the toilet is still running after checking the tank components.

Other circumstances that require turning off the toilet’s valve are during plumbing repairs and when you’re away for vacation. It’s the first thing you should do when you have those problems with your toilet before you call a plumber.

As you can see, it’s an initiative to save water before completely resolving the issue. In the UK, an isolation valve is commonly used. It can stop the water flow in a certain line like the one connected to the toilet. It’s made for maintenance procedures and safety.

Conclusion

There are several ways on how to shut off the water supply to a toilet. You’ll need patience, dedication, and focus. Even if you’re not handy, it means a lot if you learn how to do it, as it helps you save water before the plumber’s arrival.

After reading this article, you better check the location of your toilet’s shut-off valve and the main valve in case you need to cut the water supply in the future.

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a few words from the author

Paulk-Webb-author

"I'm Paulk Webb, and I work as a writer for Saveourwaterrebates. I'm happy to put in the time and effort to conduct market research to identify the most pressing issues faced by households concerning their plumbing.Hopefully, our articles and research will help you solve the problems you are facing"

– Paulk Web