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Where To Find Your Main Water Valves… And How to Shut Them Off in an Emergency


Stephens Plumbing

September 9, 2022


When dealing with a water emergency, knowing where to find your main water valves is located is critical. It can save you time and help prevent a property catastrophe from worsening significantly.

Where Are the Main Shut-Off Valves Located?

A house usually has two main shut-off valves: the main water shut-off valve and the water heater shut-off valve. Main shut-offs are usually found in the basement or garage, and water heater shut-offs are usually found near the water heater.

But this varies from house to house, so it’s important to know where your shut-offs are located in advance. You can find the main shut-off valve near the water meter or in the basement or garage. If it’s in the garage, it’s usually located near the water line that connects to the house’s plumbing system.

If it’s in the basement, it’s likely near the water main that runs into the house. If you can’t locate the water main, it might be inside the wall. If that’s the case, try looking behind the washing machine or water heater.

The water heater shut-off valve should be located near the water heater. It’s easy to identify, as this valve is a large metal lever with a red handle. It has two positions: open and closed.

Turning Off Main Water Shut-Off Valves

Most valves are turned off by rotating them a quarter turn in either direction. Some valves may have a screwdriver slot or arrow on them to indicate the direction to turn the valve. Others may be clearly labeled “off” on one side.

To turn off the main water supply, simply rotate the handle clockwise until it’s in the “off” position. Once the water is shut off, you can then repair the leak and turn the water back on when you’re finished.

If you don’t have a main shut-off valve or your valve is leaking, you may need to shut off the water at the street.

Shutting Off Water at the Street

If your home doesn’t have a main shut-off valve or if the valve is leaking, you’ll need to shut off the water at the street. You’ll need to find your home’s water meter or main clean-out valve to achieve this.

The water meter is usually near the street, often near where the main water line enters your home. Some, however, are found in the yard. The meter has a lid that can be removed to access the shut-off valve.

To find your home’s main clean-out valve, look for a small, round cap on an underground pipe near your home’s foundation. The valve is usually located next to the water meter.

Once you’ve found the main shut-off, turn it clockwise to close it. You will likely need a wrench for this task. Once the valve is closed, open the faucet nearest the valve to release any pressure that may be in the line and ensure the water is turned off.

If you’re still not sure where your main shut-off valves are located, you can always call your local water utility company for assistance.

Still Need Assistance?

Stephens is here to help. Our certified professionals have experience working with all types of valves and can help you locate them and instruct you on how to turn them off in an emergency. Contact us to schedule an appointment.


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