I mentioned in a previous question that either our pipe burst or our outdoor faucet broke. It leaked into the house. Our main water line is shut off currently. We can't locate a shut off valve to the outside faucet.

The main water line comes into our utility room. It branches off into 3 lines(2 cold and one hot). Is there a chance that one of the colds is for the exterior faucet only? Is there a "typical" scenario?

2 Answers 2


In colder climates where freezing is common, there is typically a valve to shut off outside faucets just before the plumbing exits the warm interior. If there is not a valve in that location, you'll have to trace the plumbing back and look for a valve along the way.

It's impossible to tell where the 3 branches go, without actually being on location. You'll just have to look around, or hire somebody to do it for you.

It's defiantly possible to install your own valve, and while the main is already shut off is a perfect time. As Fiasco Labs has mentioned, quarter-turn valves are much nicer than gate valves.

  • +1 for quarter-turn valves (especially full-bore lever-ball valves) these don't jam or break like infrequently-used gate-valves do. Dec 2, 2013 at 14:59
  • Or as I've found in locations where gate valves are in horizontal runs, serving as sediment traps that prevent the gate from seating. Trying to flush the sediment while also trying to close the valve in an emergency just isn't much fun. Dec 3, 2013 at 3:09

By their nature, outside faucets don't necessarily have an independent emergency shutoff valve. For most single level homes the shutoff would be under the house in a crawl space and inaccessible.

You usually have to use the main supply shutoff valve to stop the water flow if one of the outside faucets freezes and starts leaking.

In a scenario where you have easy access to the faucet branch inside a basement or a rather open warm crawlspace where the lines won't freeze, a quarter-turn ball valve shutoff can be added to that branch to prevent the need to shut the whole house down just because of a leak.

It's a case of weighing how often you foresee having this issue happen again.

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