Did you realize you need to turn off your toilet’s water supply for one reason or another? No worries, it’s something that can be very easily done. That said, the exact process will depend on the type of plumbing your toilet uses.
As such, we put together this guide that goes through the various methods. Before diving into the process, though, let’s take a quick look at why you would even want to shut the water to your toilet off in the first place.
When Should You Turn Off Your Toilet’s Water Supply?
The major reason why you may need to shut off the water supply to your toilet is if the tank, the bowl, or any of the piping or tubing has a leak. As long as the water supply is on, the toilet will continue to leak, and this can cause water damage to the floor and the surrounding area.
Another reason is if some of the mechanical components are broken, mainly the ones that control the water flow. For instance, something in the tank may be broken, which may cause water to run randomly or endlessly. For one, this would just be a waste of water, which is not good for the environment or your wallet, and if worst comes to worst, it may cause your bathroom to flood.
You may also need to turn the water to your toilet off if it is clogged and overflowing. If you want to stop the overflow from continuing, turning off the water is your only good option.
Finally, if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, particularly if it is very cold outside, you might want to turn your toilet’s water supply off as well. After all, you don’t want the water in the pipes, the toilet bowl, or the tank to freeze, as this can all cause major damage and will then require repairs and potentially toilet replacement.
How to Turn Off Water to a Toilet
Let’s get right to the main point of today’s article and teach you how to shut off the water to your toilet in a simple step-by-step manner. There are several ways you can go about this, particularly with a normal toilet.
Method 1: Closing the Shutoff Valve
If you have a fairly normal toilet, you should see a water shutoff valve located in the rear, by the floor, right on the piping or tubing that supplies your toilet with water. You should see one end of the pipe going into the wall, and the other end into the toilet, with the shutoff valve located somewhere in the middle.
Turn the shutoff valve in a counter-clockwise direction until it cannot turn anymore. If you cannot easily turn it, do not force it, as you may break something and cause a leak. If this is the case, try applying some lubricant like WD-40 to loosen things up. If you still cannot turn the valve, you may need professional assistance, or you may need to replace the valve.
You can now flush the toilet to see if the water supply is shut off, and yes, it should be. If, for whatever reason, this is not an option for you (using the toilet’s shutoff valve), try the next method on our list.
Method 2: Turn Off the Main Water Supply to Your House
If for whatever reason you cannot use the shutoff valve on your toilet, the next best option is to turn off the water supply to your entire home. To do this, you need to locate the main water shutoff valve to the whole house.
If you live in a cold climate, this is likely to be located inside of your home, somewhere in the basement, most likely on the closest side of the house that faces the street, where the water comes from. If you live in a warm climate, your water shutoff valve for the whole house may be located outdoors. If you cannot find your water shutoff valve, you will need to contact a plumber so they can find it.
Some house water shutoff valves may feature wheels that you can turn or levers that you move from one side to another. Whatever the case, turn or push the wheel or lever to the off position in order to shut off the water to your house, and therefore also to your toilet.
Method 3: Propping Up the Float Lever
If you cannot use either the shutoff valve on your toilet or for the whole house, you can always manipulate the toilet itself by propping up the float in the toilet tank.
Take the lid off the toilet tank and locate the float. This looks like a rubber ball and is usually black or white.
Use a piece of wood, something about one inch in height, and prop it under the float. If that does not work for you, take a long board (long enough to span the width of the tank, and then some), prop it over the toilet tank with the lid open, tie a string to the board, and then tie a string to the float, short enough so that it is propped up.
If possible, flush the toilet to drain out any remaining water from the tank and the bowl.
How to Turn Off Water to a Toilet with Push-Pull Valve
If you have a toilet that has a push-pull valve instead of a classic circular/turning valve, then shutting off the water supply is very easy. You literally just have to locate the valve, which should be in the same location as any other valve (on the pipe that comes out of the wall, the water supply pipe that leads to your toilet), and then push the valve.
Just push the valve inwards until it clicks into place, and the water should be shut off. To turn the water back on, simply pull that same valve back out. As you can see, shutting off the water to a toilet that has a push-pull valve is very easy and fast.
Remember that some push-pull valves may also require you to slightly rotate the knob once you have pushed it into the off position, just to keep it in place, but this does not apply to all toilets.
How to Turn Off Water to a Toilet with No Shut-Off Valve
If you are unlucky enough to have purchased a toilet that has absolutely no shutoff valve, don’t worry, because you can still shut the water off, just not by using any sort of valve located on the toilet.
In order to turn the water off to a toilet without a shutoff valve, refer to the second section in today’s article, specifically methods number one and two. Your options here are to either shut the water supply to the whole house off or to prop up the rubber float in the tank.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Let’s quickly go over some crucial tips to follow when shutting off the water to your toilet, just to make life easier and to avoid disaster:
- If your toilet is leaking or overflowing, you need to flush it after having turned the water off. You need to drain the water out of the toilet or else the remaining water will continue to leak.
- Never force any sort of valve. If it won’t move relatively easily, either use some lubricant to try and loosen it or call a plumber. If you try and force things, you are likely to break something and cause a big leak or flood.
- If you have to shut off the water to the entire house, be sure to drain all faucets. You don’t want water left in the pipes, particularly if it is cold outside, as that standing water may freeze and cause a pipe to burst.
- If all else fails, and you don’t know what to do, call a plumber. Plumbing is relatively fragile and it’s easy to make things worse.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to shut off the water to your toilet, and it all depends on the setup that you have. The most important thing that we really cannot stress enough is to never force anything.
After all, if you force a valve, chances are that you may break it, and then you will be in serious trouble.