Uncategorized January 16, 2024

How to Locate and Turn Off a Main Water Shut Off Valve

As you encounter freezing temperatures this winter, it is a good idea to know how and where to turn off your main water supply.

Extreme winter weather can cause your pipes to freeze. When the water inside the pipes freezes, it expands, which can lead to a burst pipe. Follow these steps to help prevent frozen pipes:

If the pipe has already burst, start by turning off your main water valve as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.

Where is the main water shutoff valve, and how do I shut it off?

It is key to know exactly where your main water shutoff valve is located. If the pipe bursts, you must act fast to help with damage control until the professionals arrive.

The valve could be in several different areas. If you have a basement and crawl space, the main water shutoff is probably located there, near the front wall of your home. It should be close to your water meter. Check near the hot water heater or inside your garage to find the shutoff valve if your home was built on slabs.

The valve will likely be a wheel valve. Turn the wheel clockwise to stop the flow of water.

If you can’t locate the valve inside your home, check near the end of your street or property line. You’ll look for a cement box, buried underground. The visible part of the box will say “WATER,” or “WATER METER.” You should be able to open it with a large screwdriver. You may need to purchase a meter key from your local Ace Hardware Store if the box is locked.

Once you get the lid open, clear all the debris. To shut the water off, turn the ball valve ¼ to make it perpendicular to the water pipe. When the ball valve is parallel, it is ON; when it’s perpendicular, it is OFF.

NOTE: Located just above the shutoff valve is the pressure regulator. Never touch the pressure regulator. It should only be adjusted by a licensed plumber. 

Where are the isolation valves located?

In addition to the main water shut-off valve, which shuts off water to the entire plumbing system, there are also isolation shut-off valves. They are connected to specific areas of your home.

The isolation shut-off valves will be much easier to find. Usually, home plumbing fixtures like sinks, toilets, water heaters, and washing machines have separate valves that control the water flow.

How do I turn the isolation valves off?

Turn the valve clockwise to turn off the water flow. Once you turn off the water, open your hot and cold lines to release any built-up pressure and test if the water is actually off.

There are several types of isolation valves. All of which should be simple to turn on and off. Is the valve difficult to turn? Try putting on work gloves or using a wrench. However, you should never force a valve to open or close. If the valve seems stuck, call Parrish Services to avoid causing major damage.

To turn off a gate valve, turn the handle to the right to close the water supply and to the left to open it up.

A ball valve is slightly different. Turn the lever until its perpendicular to the pipe to turn the water supply off. When the lever is parallel to the pipe, the water supply is on. 

Compression or stop valves use a rubber gasket that gets screwed into the middle of the valve to stop water flow. Turn the handle to the right to close the water supply and to the left to open it up.

It is important to know where the water valves in your home are. Being able to locate them could help keep plumbing problems from turning into costly repairs.

If you can’t locate your water shutoff valves or have further questions, contact the certified experts at Parrish Services.

Explore Previous Explore Next