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How to Find the Main Water Shutoff Valve

By July 14, 2020Plumbing, Tips
Gate water shut off valve

It’s better to find out where your main water shutoff valve is located and how to operate it before a plumbing emergency requires you to do so. If you’re familiar with your home’s plumbing, you’ll be more prepared in the event of a burst pipe, ruptured water lines, frozen pipes, or other plumbing issues. 

As always, the experienced team at BR McGinty is here to provide Little Rock residents with professional plumbing services they can depend on. Here is a guide on how to find your home’s water shutoff valve.

Where the Water Shutoff Valve Could Be

There are several areas in the home where you might find the water shutoff valve. For example, if the home has a crawlspace and basement, you may locate it along an interior wall on the front side of the house where the meter is also found. However, if the home is built on a slab, the valve might be found within the garage or near the home’s water heater.

In some cases, the valve may not even be in the home. The valve could be located toward the end of the property line or even the end of the street inside of a protective utility box. In these cases, a meter key may be required to open the box and access the valve.

You can often determine if there is a leak based on the water meter reading. Keep in mind that it’s illegal to tamper with or remove the city shutoff side and meter.

The Two Types of Water Shutoff Valves

Your home will have one of two different types of valves to look for:

Ball Valves

Ball valves are often used in homes that have either copper or plastic main water pipes installed. In ball valves, the valves open up once the pipe and the handle are aligned. You can close a ball valve by turning the handle clockwise until it’s perpendicular to the pipe.

Gate Valves

Gate valves, while durable and built to last, have wheels in lieu of handles and can be somewhat difficult to operate if left unattended for many years. If the home has a gate valve and you have never turned it, you’re better off testing the handle as soon as possible to gauge how challenging it will be to turn when needed.

How to Turn Off the Valve

Depending on the structure of the valve, you can shut it off either by turning the handle clockwise or using a designated tool. If you are unable to turn the valve by hand and don’t have the proper tools in the event of an emergency, you may need to contact an emergency plumber to provide assistance.

If the valve isn’t in the home, check the water meter box, but avoid making any changes to the city shutoff side. Once you’ve turned off the valve, release any excess pressure from the pipes by turning on the home’s cold and hot water faucets.

Little Rock Plumbers

If you need professional emergency plumbing services when shutting off the main water shutoff valve is insufficient, contact BR McGinty in Little Rock to schedule a technician to fix your plumbing problem. With over 75 years of collective experience, you can trust that our plumbers can help, no matter what part of your home needs serviced!