Open Accessibility Menu
Hide

How to Find a Water Shut-off Valve Outside

Do you need help finding your home’s water shut-off valve? In the case of an emergency, it’s important to know where the valve is and how to turn it off quickly. Water gushing through your home can rapidly cause flood damage. In many cases, you may not want to wait until a plumber can get to your house.

The good news is that it only takes a minute to stop the flooding and minimize damage to your home. Knowing where the main water valve is before an emergency will help you take a proactive approach to protect your home in the event of a plumbing disaster.

Keep reading to learn how to find the water shut-off valve outside and the steps to turn it off.

Why Do You Need to Shut-off the Main Water Valve?

The pressure that keeps home faucets and appliances running does not stop when there’s a water line break. This means the water will continue to flow until the valve is shut off. A typical water pipe can carry 10 to15 gallons per minute, which is enough water to run a full cycle of laundry in the washing machine. Now, picture that amount of water soaking into your carpet and walls every minute. Not a pretty sight!

In a panic-stricken state with water flowing around you, it’s unlikely you will want to stop and take the time to figure out where the valve is. Identifying it now will provide you with peace of mind and a swift action plan if the worst happens.

Finding the Water Shut-off Valve

Where is my main water valve? Your home has shut-off valves for individual appliances as well as one inside the perimeter of your home. If you aren’t sure where it’s located inside, or the problem is related to the mainline instead of an appliance, you will save time by going directly to the outside shut-off valve.

If you have municipal water service, here’s how to find your outside water shut-off valve:

  • Look for a rectangular or round cover that will be near the edge of your property, often between the curb and the sidewalk. Some water main valves are located along an alley, rather than the street. The cover may be metal or plastic, and it might say “water meter” to help with identification.
  • Open the cover to the meter to find the water shut-off valve.

If you have a private well, there may be a shut-off valve on or near your pressure tank.

In either case, you can also typically find a shut-off valve in a utility space of the house where the water line enters the home. Some homes with municipal water service may have a shut-off valve on an exterior wall near the water meter.

If you’re struggling with finding the water shut-off valve, you can check your home's property inspection report that you received when you purchased your home. Check the plumbing section of the report, which will identify the location of the valve along with a photo to guide you in the search.

If you still can’t find a water shut-off valve inside or outside your home, contact your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing for help.

How to Shut Off the Water Valve

To shut off an outside main water valve, you may need a couple of tools:

  • If a security bolt is holding the cover down, you will need a socket wrench to remove the security bolt. Or, you may need to contact the municipal water supply provider to unlock the cover.
  • You may need to pry the cover off with a screwdriver.
  • For many water main valves, a water meter key is the ideal tool for adjusting the valve.
  • If you don’t have a water meter key, channel locks will work.

Once you have removed the cover, look inside the compartment to find the residential water supply shut-off valve, which will be the one located closest to your house. To turn off the valve, you can use a meter key or twist the valve closed with pliers. To stop the water flow to your home, turn the shut-off valve clockwise.

Seek Professional Plumbing Help from Your Local Mr. Rooter

Shutting off the main water valve is just the beginning of solving your problem. It's important to identify the source of the leak and repair the issue before restoring water service to your home. If you need help during any step of the process or are ready to get your home’s plumbing back in order, reach out to the experts at Mr. Rooter. For 24/7 emergency plumbing or to schedule an estimate, call your local Mr. Rooter at (855) 591-0128.

Are you aware of the most common sources for water damage in your home? Learn from our friends at Rainbow International about the appliances most likely to cause water damage. Just like Mr. Rooter, Rainbow International is part of the Neighbourly® community of trusted home service professionals.