Spring is here! So I decided to see if I could draw some water for watering the plants outside and... no water and no pressure at my outside faucet.

I just bought my house (1948 victory house in Canada). so I'm wondering if perhaps houses normally have some sort of indoor valve that controls flow to the external faucet and if so where that would normally be located.

I'm going to be checking my main line inside my house today but I have to move the washer and dryer off their pedestal to have a look.

Do external faucets have an indoor shutoff valve somewhere indoors or should I not bother moving my washer and dryer and just call a plumber?

I finally managed to find it inside of a wall stud. Using a technique described here. Is there a way to trace water pipes through walls?

  • As the answers have said, there is most likely a shutoff valve. However it's worth checking to ensure the valve you are operating is working correctly too. When you open it, do you feel the valve turning with some resistance, or does it freely spin? If it is freely spinning you might just need to tighten the screw on the handle so that it grips the valve stem.
    – Steven
    May 1, 2012 at 17:51
  • I seem to recall it was quite easy to turn. I'll double check that. Thanks Steven. May 1, 2012 at 17:52
  • I found my valve under a panel in the basement ceiling. It was about a foot behind the tap.
    – user36034
    Apr 27, 2015 at 1:52

5 Answers 5


Yes, typically houses in northern (freezing) climates have an indoor shut off. When winterizing your house, you should turn the indoor valve off, and leave the outside one open so that the water can drip out. The danger is that the water can freeze and burst the pipe.

I'd look for the shut off in the basement, on the other side of the wall where the outdoor faucet is. Trace the pipe back until you find something.


Yes. In most areas where the temperature drops below freezing at some point throughout the year, it is common to have a shut off valve inside the house.

The valve will likely be either very near to where the pipe that feeds the outside fixture exits the house, or where said pipe splits from the main trunk line.


My house did not have a cutoff valve until the line to the outside faucet froze and broke early one winter. I turned off the main, fixed the pipe and added a turn off valve. Years later, I found that even though the cutoff valve was in the off position, the pipe broke again over the winter. There was a place in the line that did not drain and the pipe froze and split. I did not know that it had split until I turned the water on in the spring. Since this house is new to you, I suggest that you be prepared for a problem when you turn that cutoff valve to the open position. Hopefully there will be no surprises.

  • If water is trapped in the line sure it could break a pipe but if the water is turned off and the line drained it would be very hard to burst a pipe. A short section of pipe ie your shutoff valve full of water will break much sooner. I use freeze proof faucets these turn the water off back in the wall and the water drains out the valve when shut off never had one of these freeze.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 29, 2019 at 15:35

Some outside faucets use freezeproof valves. These valves have the faucet handle outdoors but the actual valve is located about a foot away so it is inside the house and hence warmer. My house used these and there was no other shutoff valve other than the main water valve to the house. One of these valves broke because I didn't remove the hose from the valve during the winter and water got trapped inside the pipe and froze. I replaced this valve with a conventional outside valve and another inside. Although this requires turning the inside valve off during the winter and on during the summer, it is more reliable and safer since you have 2 valves in series.

  • You can use a freeze-proof sillcock and still have a shut-off valve on the inside. The freeze-proof part is an extra insurance policy if you forget to turn off the inside valve. The correct way to winterize it would be to remove the hose on the outside. Then turn off the inside shut-off valve, and then open the outside valve to release any left over water. Once the line has drained, then you should shut off the sillcock. Jan 9, 2015 at 20:50

My house built in 1959 has exactly that - a shutoff valve just inside the wall where the pipe goes through.

  • Deleting because this doesn't appear to be an answer. Please only post answers to the question in this section. If you have a different question than what's been asked, use the "Ask Question" link above and reference this question if it's related.
    – Michael Karas
    Jan 29, 2019 at 2:25

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