How To Turn Off The Water To The Toilet

Last Updated On September 29, 2022
how to turn off water to toilet

There are a few reasons we may need to turn off the water to our toilet. 

Whether for preventative maintenance or a plumbing emergency, we must know where to locate our toilet shutoff valve. 

They seem to be in conspicuous locations, but homeowners don’t realize that toilets even have a way to disconnect their water supply.

What's In This Guide?

      What To Know About How To Turn Off Your Toilet Water

      Nobody wants to run around the yard trying to turn off water supply lines in case of a plumbing catastrophe happening around their toilet.

      If the problem can’t get repaired for a long time, we’re stuck without water until it’s fixed. Our toilet consists of two parts; the toilet bowl and the water tank. 

      The tank is mounted on top of the bowl so that the water can flow freely into the bowl when flushed, simply using gravity. The tank fills with a flexible water line connected to our house’s water supply. 

      The supply line is at the bottom left of our toilet, about a foot off the ground. 

      Before the water fills up the toilet’s tank, it flows through an inline shut-off valve. This valve will be noticeable and stick out of the wall. 

      These disconnecting means allow us to turn off our toilet water without killing the supply to other areas of our home. 

      The standard shutoff valve for a toilet is usually an oval-shaped spigot. With just a quarter of a turn, we’ll be able to hear the water pressure cut off. 

      There are many different types of shutoffs we can install in our homes. From the standard twisting handle to the push/pull button style, they are all made to be user-friendly. 

      Sometimes, turning the water off to our toilet can become a project by itself. We might even hear pressurized water coming through the lines when we kill the water supply. 

      The fastest way to check if our shutoff valve is working is to push down the toilet’s flushing handle or buttons.

      All the water sitting in the bowl will go down the p-trap, and if working correctly, the tank will not fill up with fresh water. 

      When we have a leaky valve, or if the shut-off on our toilet doesn’t turn off the water, we probably have another DIY plumbing project on our hands. 

      In some rare instances, our bathroom may be missing a shutoff valve for the toilet altogether. In this case, we will need to locate the main water shutoff valve to the home to do any toilet maintenance. 

      While we have the water turned off and all the lines depressurized in the house, this would be the best time to install the missing water shutoff valve for our toilet.

      How To Turn Off The Toilet Water Supply In 3 Easy Steps

      1. The first step to turning off the toilet water supply is to locate the flexible supply line and shutoff valve for our toilet. 

      Usually on the wall at the bottom left of the commode, if we are facing the toilet. 

      If there is not one, or it fails to work, we will need to locate the main water shutoff valve for the entire house. 

      Once we have found the means of disconnecting the water from the toilet, we can move on to the next step. 

      2. Step two of turning off our toilet’s water supply should be as easy as partially turning the handle on the shutoff valve until the water stops flowing. 

      There will be a push-button valve in some cases, but usually, a simple quarter turn to the knob will stop the water altogether. 

      If we are stuck shutting off the entire water supply to the home, it may require a wrench or a couple of screwdrivers to get it to shut completely. 

      Now that the water is no longer filling the toilet’s tank, we can proceed to step three. 

      3. Step three, and the final step, is to check that the shut-off is doing its job. 

      When we push down the flushing handle, the tank should empty the remaining water into the bowl. Only now it will stay empty. 

      We can prop up the float inside the tank to test for any signs of dripping. This will allow us to see if any water is getting past the shutoff valve.

      Here is a great video to help turn off the toilet water supply 

      Special Troubleshooting Techniques In Turning Off The Water To Our Toilet

      Turning off our water should be as easy as the three steps previously listed. 

      If we run into any surprises during our DIY project, we may have to do a bit of special troubleshooting to turn off the water to our toilet. 

      From unique shutoff valves to no disconnecting means at all, and for all other unexpected issues, we need to be prepared for anything when tackling a DIY plumbing project in our home.

      How To Turn Off The Water To The Toilet With No Valve

      Some older toilets did not require a shut-off in the bathroom. In this case, we have two options to stop the water from filling the tank after flushing. 

      The first option is to find the water disconnect for the entire house. 

      We may see a simple valve in the water pipe running from the ground and into our home. If we close this valve, it may stop the water from going any farther into our house right at that location. 

      Usually, the water disconnect can be located in the yard somewhere. 

      The city’s water meter will be connected to the shut-off and secured inside an underground irrigation box. Closing the main valve can be difficult, especially if the water hasn’t been off for a long time. 

      It may require a wrench or crossing a couple of screwdrivers to give this shut-off a half twist. 

      When the twin locking holes line up on the mechanism, no more water should be able to flow through the line. 

      If this valve does not work, we need to call the city or an experienced plumber to get our water turned off. 

      The second option we have to turn off the water to our toilet with no valve is to use a small piece of wood to prop up the float ball inside our toilet tank. 

      With the tank full of water, the float rises to the top. With the float in an upwards position, it works as a shut-off valve. 

      With the float propped with the wood supported on the bottom of the tank and the other end of the wood holding up the ball float, it tricks the shut-off valve into thinking the tank is full, in a sense. 

      The tank can’t fill with water if the board keeps the float propped up.

      It’s essential to fully understand where you’ll need to turn off water before doing repairs, especially in the case of removing a toilet to replace it with a new one

      How To Turn Off The Water To The Toilet With A Push/Pull Valve

      When we twist the valve to turn off the water to our toilet, we might find that we have a push/pull valve. 

      These shut-off valves are similar to the standard turning style shut-off, but instead, they work more like a button. With the knob pushed in, it restricts any water from getting by. 

      The valve is open with the handle pulled out, allowing the water to flow freely through the toilet’s supply line. 

      Take care to support the push/pull valve, as the plumbing pipe attached could pull right out of its connector.

      Did you know? We can prop up the float ball inside the toilet tank with a piece of wood to keep the tank from re-filling. This trick tells the flush valve that the tank is already full.

      did you know how to turn off water to toilet

      How To Turn Off The Water To The Toilet With A Plastic Valve

      Most modern toilet shut-offs are made with brass and copper. While corrosion can start to build on any shut-off, these valves are meant to last. 

      Sometimes we will run into a plastic valve. 

      The plastic toilet shut-off works just like the metal one as they both require half to a quarter turn in the clockwise direction to stop the water flow to our toilet (unless it’s a push/pull valve.) 

      The main difference in the plastic valves is that they can be much weaker and go bad much sooner than their metal counterparts. 

      We must take extreme caution while using a plastic valve. Breaking any component on a plastic shut-off can create a flood on our bathroom floor. 

      In a worst-case scenario, we can always find the main shutoff for the entire property somewhere in our yard.

      What If The Toilet Hose Valve “Just Turns” And Is Stripped?

      If we go to turn off the water to our toilet, we may spot the shut-off immediately. 

      What happens when we turn the valve to shut the water off, and it just turns? 

      Multiple components inside the valve assembly work together to block the water flow. From a smooth ball valve to rubber rings, If anything doesn’t work correctly, it will cause our shut-off to act faulty. 

      It can allow water to seep, even when tightened in a closed position. Sometimes they don’t tighten down at all. 

      If the handle keeps turning without stopping the water, we might be able to switch out the valve assembly inside the shut-off. 

      In most cases, it’s cheaper to shut the main water off to the home and replace the toilet shut off altogether.

      FAQs: Turning Off Toilet Water 

      Is it OK to turn off the water to the toilet?

      Turning the water off to the toilet won’t cause anything else to stop working. We can still flush it once more, as long as there is water in the tank.

      Why can’t I shut off the water to my toilet?

      If there is no shut-off for our toilet, or if the valve just spins, we can always close the main water supply to the entire home.

      Why is my toilet still running with the water off?

      Water shut-off valves get worn and corroded over time. It is not uncommon for the water to seep past the valve, even when in the off position.

      Related: See this post for how to unclog a toilet.

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