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How To Turn Off Water To The Toilet (Before it’s an Emergency)

How To Turn Off Water To The Toilet

When you’re moving into your new house, it’s important to know a few things, one of which is how to shut off water to your toilet. Because when this happens, you need to know it right away. This is one of those things you need to know what to do quickly and effortlessly, and it’s also a good idea to inspect them to make sure that you can do it when the time comes.

Normally you only look for the shut-off valve on your toilet if you have a problem like your toilet is always running, your toilet tank is not filling up, or you have toilet flushing power issues due to a water flow issue. The worst time to look for the shut-off valve is when you have an overflowing toilet. 

An overflowing toilet is no joke and can ruin the bathroom floor and, depending on where the toilet is located, could ruin the ceiling in the case of a toilet that’s on the second floor. 


What tools are required?

Usually, you can do this with your hands, but you may need the following if there are any issues.


They’re typically three places where you can turn off the water to your toilet. Here’s how you do each of them.


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How to shut off the water supply to the toilet at the toilet valve

How To Turn Off Water To The Toilet

The first one is the dedicated shutoff valve by the toilet. Most toilets will have this somewhere around the base of the toilet just off the bathroom floor. This is where the water is coming from one of the house’s main lines and going into your toilet. It may be coming out of the floor or the wall depending on your setup.

It’s important to check to make sure all of your toilets have dedicated shutoff valves when you move in (as well as the main shutoff valve). To trace where these shutoff valves are, follow the tubing coming out of the toilet tank and follow it to the wall or floor. There should be a shutoff valve for your water supply somewhere close to the wall and a plastic valve handle on it (it looks like a football-shaped valve). This is builders’ code in most areas.

If the handle is not turning, tighten the screw so that the handle can grip properly; otherwise, you will need a wrench to shut off the water supply to the toilet. Once the handle can move, turn the valve clockwise until it cannot go any further and you will have turned off the water supply to your toilet and stopped the water from flowing into the bowl. 


Related: How to flush a toilet without running water



The water supply shutoff valve will be near the toilet, going into the floor or the wall.


Turn off the main water supply valve to the whole house

For some reason, if your shutoff valve for your water supply by the toilet bowl is not working, or you can’t seem to find it, don’t despair. There are other ways to turn off the water to your overflowing toilet tank.

If you have an older toilet a shutoff valve may not have been to code. and in this case, you will need to shut it off at the main source to stop your overflowing toilet. 

The next one would be turning off the main water supply to the entire house. Your main water supply comes into your house at one central location and then flows to all pipes in the home. The main water valve will likely be on your house’s exterior walls in the basement or crawl space.

If it’s an older house, they may have hidden it in a closet. The pipe will likely be larger than the pipes that run to your house. Often it’s coming out of the ground with a water meter on it.

water valve on toilet


Can’t find the main water supply?

If you don’t have a basement or crawlspace, your main water supply valve could be next to your hot water tank in your utility room or in the garage. There will also be a hot water shutoff valve. This is not the one to turn off as your toilet gets cold water, not hot water, so turning off the hot water tank main supply valve would not work.

It is possible that the shutoff valve is outdoors. If you live in a hotter climate, you will be able to find it near an outdoor faucet on the outside of your house or by tracing the water line into your home.

Once you find the main water supply you can close it by turning the valve clockwise. Keep in mind that water to the entire home will no longer be flowing when you turn off the water at the main supply valve. This means there will be no water pressure in the house. You may also experience air in the pipes and some sputtering when you turn the water back on.


Is it ok to turn off the water to a toilet?

Yes, it is ok to turn off the water to the toilet. This will be needed to work on the toilet. It is recommended to turn off the water to the toilet when you are fixing the toilet, or if there is a leak or a pipe has burst. It should not cause any damage to the toilet itself, however, you will not be able to flush it. You can also do it at the main shutoff valve if there are issues with the shutoff valve at the toilet water supply line.

If you do need to flush the toilet, here is how to flush the toilet without running water.  


If you don’t have a city water hook up

If you are on a well-system, your pump will need to be turned off. Check your pump to see if there is an on-and-off button.

If not go to your control panel and turn off the water pump at the electrical panel. When this happens, you will likely hear water draining from various places in the house as there is no longer any water pressure throughout the pipes in the house.

How To Turn Off Water To Toilet

If you are on a well you can turn off the water supply at the pump.


Last place to turn the water off for the toilet (and the whole house)

If you cannot find your water meter or the main shutoff valve in the house or outside the house, you may have to shut it off at the ground box near the street.

To do this, locate the access panel or contact your city services to find out how to turn off the water. To find it on your own, follow the water pipe leading to your house and turn it either by hand or using a pipe wrench. If there is a handle on it, turn it until it’s perpendicular to the water pipe.


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Final thoughts on how to turn off the water to the toilet

Turning off the water to your toilet is easy when you know where to find it. If you have to turn off the water to the entire house, make sure you let everyone know, and be prepared for some sputtering as you will have some air in the line.

Open your taps and let them run for a minute to remove any air that is in the pipes. Once you have fixed the issue turn the shutoff valve counterclockwise to turn the water back on to your toilet.  If you are unable to diagnose the problem. Make sure to contact a professional plumber and they can help you fix the issue.


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Related reading for how to improve toilet
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