Whether you own your home, or you’re renting, you cannot avoid the fact that if a plumbing emergency strikes, you’re the one that has to act fast and respond to it. If you don’t know much about indoor plumbing, there is one piece of information that you must have: It’s how to shut off the water. Otherwise, you could face serious costly water damage to your flooring, furnishings, and other personal belongings.
Assuming your home is supplied by municipal water, you should be able to find the main shut-off valve near the water meter. You can go outside and look for the water meter first. Once you locate that, know that the main shutoff valve is located underneath the meter’s hatch.
What Do Water Meters Look Like?
But, what if you don’t have a clue about water meters? That’s okay, water meters are usually located in an underground hatch in one of two places: near the street, or between properties. So, when looking for the water meter, look down along the ground. Look for a metal lid that resembles a manhole cover; it should say “water” or “water meter.” Usually, all you have to do to remove a water meter hatch is to unscrew one bolt.
Once you remove the hatch, you’ll notice the valve resembles an outdoor spigot, or it may be a valve equipped with a metal flange. If it’s the latter, you may need to use a pipe wrench to shut off the water. To shut off the water supply to your house, you will need to turn the valve clockwise.
How to Test the Shut-off Valve Correctly
If you decide to test your shut-off valve, you don’t want to do it without first shutting off the water intake valves for appliances in your home, such as hot water heaters. Otherwise, shutting off the water supply during a test could cause damage. Before you conduct your test in the water meter outside, we recommend referring to your appliances’ manuals for instructions on what to do when shutting off the home’s main water supply.
Sometimes however, water shut-off valves are located in basements or crawlspaces, so if you can’t locate a water meter outside, this could be the reason.