When there's a leak in your home, every minute counts. The faster you can stop the water from pouring out onto your floor or into your walls, the less extensive the damage will be, so everyone should know how to quickly locate and close the water shutoff valve in their home. Finding the shutoff valve in a mobile home should be simple if the home is relatively new construction, though things can get more complicated in older mobile homes. Make sure you know where the valve is now so you're ready to act quickly if a problem occurs.
Know What You're Looking For
Just like site-built homes, mobile homes generally have multiple water shutoff valves. There should be valves connected to each sink, toilet, and washing machine as well as any other fixture connected to the water line. These are generally oval knobs or round handles that turn clockwise to shut. Closing the valve located under a sink or behind a toilet will stop the water flow to that one fixture only.
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When you need to make repairs, install an outdoor faucet, or do other kinds of work on the home's plumbing system, you need to find the shutoff valve that controls water flow to the entire mobile home. A home's water shutoff valve is generally red. There are many kinds of valves that may be used as part of a home's plumbing system, but the main water shutoff generally uses a ball valve with a lever handle or a gate valve with a round knob.
Closing the shutoff valve should be as simple as turning the lever so it's perpendicular to the pipe or turning the knob clockwise as far as you can. Old valves can be stubborn and may not turn easily. Spray penetrating oil all over the valve, let it soak in for a minute, and try again. If that doesn't work to loosen the valve, spray on more oil and use a pipe wrench to carefully apply pressure to the valve. Blowing the oiled valve with hot air from a hair dryer may also help it budge.
Where to Look
Finding a shutoff valve in a mobile home is just like finding the main shutoff valve in a house: It can take some poking around. Builders and plumbers place shutoff valves in different places, so there's no one standard location. Sometimes, the valve will even be outdoors. In a big house, homeowners might have to do quite a bit of searching to find it. However, in a mobile home, there are just a few key places to check.
The home's utility room is often where the shutoff valve is installed, at least in newly built mobile homes. If the home has a washing machine, the main shutoff valve may be located in the same panel where the washer connects to the wall. If your home doesn't have a utility room or washing machine, there may be an access panel on a wall somewhere with the water heater and main water shutoff valve inside.
More Locations for Water Shutoff Valves
If the main valve isn't immediately obvious, keep searching. Grab a flashlight and check under any sinks and inside the crawl space (and in the basement if you have one) for a red handle. Then, head outdoors and look all around the home's exterior walls.
There could be a valve connected to your hose bib, or you may find the valve connected to your water supply pipe if your home uses well water. If your home uses municipal water, you may be able to turn off the valve at the water meter itself as a last resort; check with the property manager of the mobile home park and/or the water utility company before touching the meter. In older mobile homes that have skirting around them, it may be necessary to remove a section of skirting and crawl under the house with your flashlight to find a red-handled shutoff valve.
Are you still stumped? One benefit of living in a prefabricated home is that the manufacturer may be able to answer questions about the layout and utilities in your specific model.