How to Find Water Shut-Off Valve: 3 easy and Quick Ways

Water Shut-Off Valve

Uncontrolled water flow through your home is dangerous, and unsafe, and will quickly result in significant interior flood damage. You can and should quickly shut it down if the water is coming from your house’s water supply and not from an outside source, like flooding. We’ll describe where to look for and how to operate your water shut-off valve in this article.

Where is the Main Water Shutoff Valve Located?

This is the crucial inquiry. Your main water shutoff valve may be situated in a number of locations. If you have a home with a basement and crawlspace, it is probably located on an interior wall near the front of the house, where the water comes in from the water meter. It is most likely hiding in plain sight in this instance. If your home was built on a slab, the valve might be located near the hot water heater or inside your garage.

WARNING: The pressure regulator, which is right above the shutoff valve, should never be touched. Water pressure adjustments should only be made by a qualified plumber.

If the valve can’t be found inside the home, the next location to check is near the end of your property line (or street) in a covered box within a “pit” underground. This is normally a cement box buried in the ground near your front curb; however, you may need a special “meter key” (available at local hardware stores, like The box can be opened at Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.

Once you fit the meter key into the “lock,” turn it counter-clockwise, and then tilt the key toward the outer edge of the box to lift the lid open. When you open the box, take care. Small animals, reptiles, bugs, and other surprises can occasionally be found in your path.

A long screwdriver may be all that is required in some instances to open the water meter box.

Once you have located, opened, and cleared away any dirt or debris, it will probably look something like this:

Turn the ball valve 1/4 turn to perpendicular to the water pipe to turn the water off. The ball valve is ON when it is parallel; OFF when it is perpendicular (90° angle).

If you have a leak in your home’s plumbing, the water meter ought to be able to detect it. In this article, you will discover how to read a water meter and carry out a do-it-yourself leak test.

WARNING: do DO NOT tamper with the meter’s actual shut-off side or the city shut-off side. A water meter may not be altered, blocked from view, or removed. Be extremely cautious, and if you have any doubts at all, contact your neighborhood plumber or utility company.

If you are still unable to find your valve, a dependable local plumber or utility provider should be able to point you in the right direction. You should be able to locate the section of your property inspection report that details the location of your main water shutoff valve if you still have it.

3 Ways to Quickly Locate the Water Shut-Off Valve

If your water is connected to a local or municipal water supply, do the following:

Find the Water Shut Off Valve on the Inside Perimeter

Look inside your house for the main water shut-off valve. Since the water enters your home through the perimeter, that is typically where it is situated.

Maintain your position on the side of the building that faces the street. Typically, the water main for your home starts at the street and travels straight there. The valve’s handle or knife-style valve should be turned once you’ve located it.

Note that only connections to municipal water supplies will typically cause this. The water can enter the house from the side or the back if you are using well water.

Find the Shut Off Valve on Your Property Inspection Report

Check the property inspection report that was completed for you when you were in the final stages of buying your home if you still can’t locate the water shut off valve after physically looking for it.

Check out the report’s plumbing section. Locate the shut-off valve in this section, and include a picture of the valve. The report should still make note of where to find the shut-off valve even if the water system was in good working order at the time of the property inspection.

Find the Streetside Shut Off Valve

If the previous methods fail, there could be another valve located at the beginning of your water main, at the boundary line of your property and the street or sidewalk,called a curb valve.

Locate the ground-level utility box trap door, which is made of metal or plastic. Dial the 24-hour emergency number for the water company. The staff may instruct you to wait for an emergency dispatch team or to shut off the water valve on your own.

Shut-off Valves Close to the Source

The house’s individual valves should be the next stop after finding and closing the main valves. Find each of the shut-off valves for your fixtures and appliances one by one as you go through them. Be aware that if a valve hasn’t been used for a while, it might become sticky. When opening such valves, it will be simpler to use a lubricant spray.

It’s also crucial to know the possible locations for some of these valves. For instance, sinks have valves that are directly beneath the sink or, if there is one, inside the cabinet. The valves for the toilet, shower, and bathtub are readily visible on the walls because they are typically attached to the water line. Appliances with valves, like washing machines and dishwashers, may have them concealed behind the appliance. To access the water valves, you might need to move them a little.

Factors Consider When Looking for the Shut-Off Valves

Where the meter is placed can depend on a number of factors. One thing to think about is the local climate. To avoid freezing, the main shutoff valve and the meter are typically found inside in cold climates. The shutoff valves can be found attached to exterior walls in milder areas, like Brisbane City. It might also be hidden inside a box or a covered manhole underground. Most of the utility holes are marked “water” for easy of spotting. As a result, in Brisbane, one can use a short pole above the ground or the exterior house walls as a guide.

Observe that these valves don’t have the same appearance. Others are metal flanges that may be difficult to identify while some are simply standard spigot handles. Check to make sure you have the right thing by looking closely. If your search proves challenging, you can contact your local water authority to learn where the valves are located or you can hire a plumbing maintenance specialist to assist you in resolving other associated problems.

How to Turn Off the Shut-Off Valve

Ball Valve

Ball Valve

When open, a ball valve has a straight handle that is parallel to the pipe. The handle of a ball valve will transition from a parallel position to a perpendicular position to shut it off. The stops on the valve body only permit the handle to move in one direction at a time, stopping it once it is perfectly perpendicular.

Gate Valve

This round handle, similar to a hose faucet, needs to be turned several times counterclockwise until the gate seats completely shut off the water.

Within the Streetside Utility Box

Lift the lid of the ground-level utility box that is located on the street and set it aside. Remove any dirt or sand gently using your hands or a garden trowel. Sand and dirt shouldn’t be thrown out. This sand or dirt is necessary if you reside in a region where pipes can freeze and burst during the winter. The glass-covered meter, which might have a secondary cover to protect the glass, will be visible once you’ve opened the box. This has nothing to do with turning the water off, so ignore it. In the utility box, you might discover two valves.

  • This valve will be located on the water meter’s street side. Only the water company will be able to use a special tool to turn off this turn-off. Even if you manage to get a wrench on this, you might find it extremely challenging to turn, so don’t turn this off. In addition, closing the water company valve might have legal repercussions.
  • House Side Valve: This can be found on the water meter’s house side. It might have a nut or a knob for turning.

Summary: Find Water Shut Off Valve

  • The shut-off valve will typically be close to the house’s exterior.
  • Focus on grades only. Therefore, if you are in a basement, you will be looking at eye level or higher. If you are on the ground floor, your view will be downward.
  • Follow a line from the water meter to the residence. Step outside, then climb up onto the utility box that houses the water meter. The closest point on the exterior perimeter of your home should be reached by a straight line drawn from that location. The quickest route to a house is taken by water lines. The shut-off for your home is probably where that line enters your property.
  • Sometimes a plastic access panel will be used to conceal the shut-off valve.
  • An increasingly common type of plumbing collection point in more recent homes is a PEX plumbing manifold. Two significant PEX pipes, one hot and one cold, are branch off to different areas of the house using a manifold. Water shutoff valves on plumbing manifolds allow for complete home water shutdown.