If you need to turn off your home’s gas or water due to a needed repair or a weather issue, first you have to know where the water and gas shut off valves are located. Ideally, you’ll want to locate the main or master shut offs, as well as the supply shut offs, before an emergency happens.
SAFETY NOTE: If you suspect a gas leak, do not try to turn off the gas to your home. Get outside, move away from the house, and then call the gas company.
If you have a water leak, your municipal water supplier may have an emergency number you can call to report it.
How to Find the Main Water Shut Off Valve
There are actually two main water cut off valves - one before the water line reaches the meter and the other on the “house side” of the water meter. These turn off the water supply to the entire home. In colder climates, both the meter and the shut off valves are located inside the house to prevent freezing. In warmer climates, the meter and the valves will either be outside the house or below ground, inside a box.
Turn off your home’s water supply: Turn the main shut off valve that’s on the house side, after the meter.
- If it’s a lever, turn it so it’s at a right angle, or perpendicular, to the water supply line. To turn the water back on, turn the lever so it’s parallel, or in the same direction as, the supply line.
- If the main shut off valve is a round handle like the ones on outdoor faucets, simply turn it clockwise to turn off the water (righty-tighty) and counter-clockwise to turn the water back on (lefty-loosey).
Note: You may notice two other valves outside your house, but they are only for use by the city workers. An underground curb stop valve is located between your home’s water meter and the water main in the street. There’s also a “corporation stop”, which is where the house water line and the water main meet.
How to Find the Water Supply Shut Off Valves
It’s not always necessary to shut off the main water supply. If you’re just repairing or replacing one fixture, like a faucet, you can turn off the water only to its individual supply line. Also called a supply stop, this shut off valve is usually a small metal oval or round handle located on the water line running to your toilets, water heater, dishwasher, faucets, washing machine and water softener
In some cases, you may find a t-shaped connector on the water supply line for your furnace humidifier or your refrigerator’s ice maker. Be sure to monitor these, as they’re a common source for leaks. Building codes in many areas require them to be replaced with supply stops to prevent water damage.
How to Find the Main Gas Shut Off Valve
If you have any natural gas appliances in your home, the main gas shut off valve that you’ll want to look for is usually inside, where the gas line enters the house. However, older homes may only have one shut off at the meter itself. In most cases, the meter shut off valve is only for use by the gas company, fire department or a plumbing or HVAC contractor.
When you shut off the main gas supply, keep in mind that you’ll have to relight the pilot lights in your gas appliances, unless they have an electronic ignition system. Relighting instructions can usually be found in the owner’s manual or on the appliance itself, but if you’re unsure or not comfortable with it, you can always call a professional like Althoff Industries to take care of it for you.
Turn off your home’s gas supply: The way to shut off the main gas valve depends on what type of setup your house has.
In newer homes, the gas shut off valve may look like a bright yellow lever on a black iron pipe where the gas supply line enters your house. To turn off the gas, just turn the lever perpendicular to the line, and then turn it parallel to the line to turn the gas back on.
If your home is newer and has a high-pressure gas system, the gas supply line will be a flexible copper pipe. The indoor main shut off valve can usually be found near your home’s furnace or water heater, just before the pressure regulator.
Homes that use propane will have a shut off valve on the tank as well as one on the gas line before the connection to the first appliance.
To turn off the gas in an older home that uses natural gas and doesn’t have an indoor shut off, you’ll have to use the street-side shut off valve outside on the gas meter. The valve typically looks like a small rectangle, but you’ll need a special wrench to open and close it. To turn off the gas, turn the valve perpendicular to the incoming gas line. Turn the valve parallel to the line to turn the gas back on. It may be a good idea to pick up a gas meter shut off wrench at your local home improvement store and then leave it attached to the meter in case you need it.
How to Find the Gas Supply Shut Off Valves
Every gas appliance has an individual shut off valve so you can repair or replace it without turning off the gas to your entire home. It’s typically a lever that you turn perpendicular to the line to shut off the gas; turning it parallel to the line will turn the gas back on.
The service, or supply, shut off valve for gas appliances should be located on the flexible supply line, called an appliance connector, no more than 6 feet from the appliance itself. The line may be visible for furnaces, gas fireplaces and water heaters, but gas dryers and stoves will need to be pulled away from the wall to get access to the shut off valve.
This information is provided as a general guideline. Althoff Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.