I hear there's a proper way and an improper way to shut off the water main in a house and I get more confused as I search on Google so I'd like to ask for your expert opinions.

There's a water heater in our basement. Our water main shut off is also located in the basement, about 10ft from the water heater. This house has a second floor.

When I go to shut off all water to work on plumbing, whether it's on the 2nd story/main floor/basement, is this the right order of turning off the water? ----> make sure no water is running ---> turn off the water main ---> turn off the water supply to water heater --> open the sink faucets in the basement and wait till no more water is coming out ---> proceed to plumbing repairs

Thank you all for your help.

Bonus question: how long does it usually take for water to stop after water main is shut off?

  • 1
    Opening basement faucets is good for draining, only if a higher faucet is open also to let air in.
    – crip659
    Jul 22, 2023 at 15:05
  • Won't the faucets still drain, just a lot more slowly?
    – Huesmann
    Jul 23, 2023 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


Your sequence is good, with a couple of exceptions. Turn off the power to the HW tank so you don't risk the water dropping and burning out the heating elements. Open a faucet on the second floor to vent and drain the system.

Bonus answer: There is no way to tell for sure as we have no idea how many fixtures you have or how much piping there is in your home. However it could be a few minutes to drain down to the basement.

  • how do I turn the power to the water heater off? I don't think we have an electric water heater, it uses gas.
    – Sicarius
    Jul 24, 2023 at 3:37
  • I'm not familiar with gas HW. The idea was that power left on in an electric tank will burn out the heating elements if they are not immersed in water. I don't think you will have that issue with a gas HW tank.
    – RMDman
    Jul 24, 2023 at 3:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.