How to Locate and Operate a Water Shut Off Valve in Your Home

Each adult should know how to open a bank account, pay taxes, and, of course, how to shut off the water in their home. Because if at some point in the future your find water gushing from a connection in the pipes inside your kitchen or bathroom, each minute you spend looking for the shut-off valve can cost you additional hundreds of dollars worth of damage. So if you want to be prepared and figure out the location of the water shut-off pipe and find out how to use it before you actually need it, keep reading this article.

3 Methods For Locating a Water Shut Off Valve

Find the valve inside your home

Most often, homeowners can locate the water shut off valve inside their homes. The valve is usually found on the perimeter of the house. If you’re using municipal water in your home, the valve will likely be located on the side of the house that faces the street. But if you’re using water from a well, the valve can be located on the side or back of the house, depending on the location of the well. Essentially, the valve will be located on the pipe through which all water enters your home. 

Use the property inspection report to locate the shut off valve

If you own your home, you should have a property inspection report. This document is usually given to the future owner of the house just after an inspection conducted just before the purchase of the house. If you can find this report, locate the plumbing section of the report. This section should have a location and photo of the shut off valve even if the inspector didn’t find any issues with it. 

Locate the Streetside Valve

If you’ve been unable to find the water valve in your home, you can try to find the curb valve instead. This is the valve located in the spot where your home’s water main connects to the municipal pipe that goes through your street. Curb valves are usually located in utility boxes next to the sidewalk or road at the edge of your property. Don’t try to shut off this valve by yourself. Instead, call the emergency contact line of your water company and ask for their permission to shut off the valve. They may allow you to shut the water off yourself or send a team to do it instead.

Operating a Shut Off Valve

If you need to shut off the water in your home, you need to understand how to operate the valve correctly. If you are working with a ball valve that has a straight handle, you need to put the handle in the position perpendicular to the pipe to turn off the water. When the handle is perpendicular to the direction of the pipe the water is on. 

 

If you are working with a gate valve that has a circle-shaped handle, you will need to turn the handle clockwise until the water shuts off. You will likely need to turn the handle several times. To turn the water back on, turn the valve counter-clockwise until water flow resumes.