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McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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How do I shut off the main water service in a mobile/manufactured home?
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Find Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve Before You Need It
Where to shut off the water in an emergency is something everyone should be sure to find out when buying a mobile home. Searching frantically with a flashlight in the middle of the night while water spreads across the floor from a broken pipe is the wrong time to start looking. There are usually three possible places to cut off the water to a mobile home: inside the home, under it, and at the well or water meter.
INSIDE - The shut-off valve will be near the washing machine in the laundry area, maybe behind a small, removable access panel in the wall, or in the water heater compartment. When it is in the water heater compartment, the main valve is the one closest to the floor, and the higher one cuts off only the cold water supply to the water heater. It is possible that no shut-off valves were installed there by the factory, and maybe one or both of the valves has been removed during a handyman water heater replacement. If you think you have found a main shut-off valve in the water heater compartment, test it to see whether it shuts off all the water or just the the hot water.
UNDER - The shut-off is usually under one of the long walls of the home, just behind the skirting, and near the water heater or laundry. The manufacturer sometimes marks this location at the base of the siding and there might also be an access panel in the skirting or hose faucet there.
WATER METER OR WELL - If your home has municipal water service and a meter box in the ground at the front of the property, that may be the best place to shut off the water in an emergency—because the valves in or under your home can freeze up with age, but the one at the meter stays operable for many years. It requires a “water key,” shown below, to turn the valve (at white arrow below). You can get one at any hardware or home improvement store.
Homes in a park that provides unmetered water as part of the lot rental often have a valve in a box in the ground at the front or back of the lot. The valve nearest the well head or pressure tank will be your main shut-off for a home with a well. If there are multiple valves, it would be a good idea to know the right one.
We recommend testing your main shut-off valve when you locate it, but do not use excessive force if it doesn’t want to budge. Older valves, especially PVC or CPVC plastic, or metal ones with visible corrosion, may fracture or start leaking at the valve stem when you force them. This is a good time to call a plumber for help.
Park Model Trailers and Park Model RVs that are more-or-less permanently installed at an RV park may look like a small single-wide mobile home, but the water connection is often simply a hose faucet near the home. There might be a hose or piping connected to the faucet. Here’s an example below from an older park.
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