Locating Your Shut Off Valves


We have talked about this in the past, but with winter here this is a good time to refresh your memory about your shut off valves.

We mention winter because if there is a hard freeze, followed by mild weather, there is a chance that your pipes could burst or at least develop a leak from the expansion and contraction.

You need to shut off the water to the house to minimize damage.

First, look to see if the fixture has an individual shut off valve, if that’s where the problem stems. For a toilet or sink, you might see a small valve or knob that you can turn to the off position (usually clockwise). For something like the washing machine, there could be two valves behind it. You might have to pull out the washer to see them.

The shut off valve to the house will most likely be somewhere along the perimeter of the house. This will serve for all the valves in the house (upstairs too). If you have a basement, the valves will probably be located there.

Most shut off valves look something like this:                            shut off valves

If you can locate your main water line; the shut off valve should be the shortest distance to your house. It should not have any extra piping or detours.

If your house has been inspected, the location of the shut off valves should be identified in the report.


gas shut off valvesHouses with natural gas have a main shutoff valve located just before the gas meter. This valve, often called the street-side valve, is normally a rectangular nub. When the long side of the nub or handle is parallel to the incoming gas line, it’s open and the gas is flowing.


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