Be Prepared

Things You Can Do to Be Prepared

The following are items/tasks that you can do to be prepared for an emergency, be a severe storm or an earthquake:
  • Sign up for emergency alerts with CodeRED, called ALERT King County. This is the notification system that King County uses to alert people of emergencies. These alerts can be delivered to your cell phone via text or to your email. There also is a mobile application you can download.
  • Create an emergency plan and kit. Visit King County's Emerqencv Management and Make it Through for resources on how to prepare an emergency plan and build a preparedness kit:
    • Building a basic kit
    • Create Communication Plan
    • Storing Water
King County Alert
Make it Through

Turning Off Your Water

All homes should have a shut-off valve located in the home. However, if your home does not have one, you may, in an emergency, turn the water off at the water meter generally located at the front of the property near the road.

Tools necessary are a crescent wrench or meter wrench available at your local hardware store.

Locate the valve (silver dollar sized, brass colored with a raised bar in the center), place wrench over the raised bar and turn it to the right until the "eyes" on the valve are aligned. Repair any leaks and reverse the process to re-establish water service to the home.

Extended Winter Trips

If you are planning an extended trip in winter, consider turning your water off at the master shut off valve. With the water turned off, potential damage to the inside of your home from a frozen water pipe would be essentially eliminated. Drain the pipes by opening a faucet at each end of your plumbing system until the water stops running. To protect your water heater, you will need to shut off the power (electricity or gas) to the water heater before draining the plumbing system. If you will be away during the fall and/or winter months see Wrap Your Tap for additional helpful tips.

High Water Pressure

Water pressure, how hard it flows out of your faucet, is determined in large part by terrain. Water flows fastest when it is going downhill, and much slower going uphill. Homes on hills consequently have lower water pressure, while homes at lower elevations have higher water pressure.

Ideal water pressure is in the 50-60 pounds per square inch (psi) range. Pressure much higher than that may shorten the life of your plumbing. You can check the water pressure in your home or business by using a gauge that attaches to your outside faucet. The District has a limited number of pressure gauges available for loan.

The Uniform Plumbing Code recommends that homeowners install an individual pressure reducing valve (PRV) when water pressure is 80 psi or more at the meter. PRVs are available at most hardware stores, or you can call a licensed plumber to have one installed. If you have purchased a home with water pressure at or below 80 psi, you may already have a PRV on your system. If you notice a considerable increase or decrease in pressure, it could be that your PRV has worn out and needs to be replaced.