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How to Find the Main Water Shutoff Valve

In the event of a leak, flood, or in preparation of repiping or major plumbing repair work, it's important to turn off the water to your home -- we mean ALL of the water! Shutting off the valve will allow you or a professional plumber to access and open up and pipe within your home to perform needed services or replacement work. If you happen to be doing DIY plumbing to your home, you'll need to be able to locate the shut off valve.

locating the in-home water shut off valve

  • First things first, the shutoff valve will be near the perimeter of your house and it will be located within your home.
  • If you are in the basement, be sure to check for the valve either at eye level or slightly above eye level.
  • If you know where your outdoor water meter is, follow that imaginary line straight to your home. Walking in a straight line from the water meter to your home's exterior will likely lead you to where the water shut off valve is.
  • Don't forget to check your home inspection report from when you purchased the house. These reports harbor useful information, such as where the shutoff valve is. Section 6.1 will have this information available to you.
  • Some home building contractors or DIY remodelers may have covered up the water shutoff valve (which you aren't supposed to do). However, there may be an access panel somewhere that you can open and find the valve.

Locating the outside Main water shut off valve

  • If you cannot find the shutoff valve from inside your home, you'll need to locate it outside and this will require specific tools to access
  • Locate the round or square steel lid that should be at ground level near the perimeter of your property, close to the road. Lift the lid and remove the dirt or sand covering the pipes (don't forget to replace this dirt when finished to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting!)
  • There are two shutoff valves housed within the box, but please note that one of these is for the water company to operate and you should not try to tamper with it. The homeowner shutoff valve will be on the house side.
  • The homeowner water shutoff valve will either operate with the use of a knob or a nut. If it is a nut, please note that not all of them will be the same, so you should ensure that you have a set of tools that span a wide range of ratchet wrench sizes. Turn either the knob or the nut clockwise to shut off the water.

If you're still unsure on how to locate your water shutoff valve or don't feel comfortable turning it off after locating it, it's best to contact a professional plumber. At Nazzaro & Sons Plumbing & Heating, our plumbing professionals will walk you through on how to locate the valve as well as how to operate it so you can do it yourself next time! Contact us for emergency plumbing service or scheduled maintenance requests.

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