How to Turn Your Water Main On or Off

Posted about 3 years ago

It's a good idea to spend some time understanding how to shut off the water to your house or condo in the event of an emergency. Time is of the essence, and even a few minutes can mean the difference between thousands of dollars of damage from water. Most people don't have any idea where the water main is located, or how to turn it off.

Turning a water main on or off is a benefit covered by your Everhome Membership, but if you're not currently a member this is something this article will help you understand. Plumbers can cost hundreds of dollars if they come to your home, so it's very important for you to learn how to do this. At some point, every homeowner or renter will have to turn their water off, either due to emergency like if a water main bursts, or if you're trying to upgrade a sink or install a new fixture. Your sink and your toilet each has their own valve to turn them off, but they might fail for some reason and you'll need to turn off your entire water system to your home.

Step 1: Find the location of your main water shutoff valve
In order to shut off your water main, the first step is to find the water main. Depending on where your home is located, the water main will be in different places. If your home is in a colder climate, you can find the water main shut-off valve in the basement or in a closet somewhere in the front of your home. It might even be behind a removable panel. In more southern states since it is warmer, the main water shut-off valve is often located outside of the home, usually along the wall closest to the street, and often near an outdoor faucet. The last place to look is inside the meter box near the curb.

Step 2: Turn off the water main
To turn off, turn the valve to the right to turn off. Turn it to the left to turn it back on. You might need a special tool, called a meter box key, so you can lift covering of the meter vault. Sometimes you'll even need a special tool or key to turn off the water main, but you'll probably be ok using a crescent wrench. And if the valve is located in your home, that will most likely not need a tool, just your hand to turn it to town off.