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When a leak develops in your house, turning the water off quickly is essential to minimizing the damage in your home. So do a little planning now while there’s no emergency makes a lot of sense.

Look for the nearest shutoff valve upstream of each fixture. In an emergency close that valve first, turning it clockwise until it’s tight. Not sure which way to turn the valve? Remember this: left loosens, right tightens.

When all else fails, you should know where the main shut off valve is located for the whole house. This is usually located on the house side of your water meter, typically in the front yard near the street.

Remember, little-used valves can become stuck with age, so check them out with a turn or two and lubricate them to insure they work smoothly if you need them in an emergency.