How to Find a Water Shut-off Valve Outside

find water shut-off valve outside.

When a pipe bursts, you need to stop the flow of water as quickly as possible. That’s why you need to know where your outdoor water shut-off valve is located; it can help minimize property damage in a plumbing emergency.

We’ll show you how to find a water shut-off valve outside, tell you how to turn off your water supply and answer an important frequently asked question about these valves:

Finding the Water Shut-off Valve Outside

In the typical home, there are dozens of water line shut-off valves. They are usually located near appliances, faucets, and toilets. These shut-off valves are great for cutting water flow to a specific place, a necessity for basic plumbing work. You may have used these valves a few times, but you probably haven’t used your main water shut-off valve often.

The location of your water shut-off valve varies depending on where you get your water - a private well or your city’s public water supply. Here’s how to find the shut-off valve if your home gets water from the city:

  • Search for a rectangular or round cover near the edge of your property. Usually, this is near the curb and the sidewalk, though it could be in an alley. The cover is either metal or plastic and usually says “water meter” on it.
  • Open the cover to locate the main water shut-off valve.

If you get water from a well, the shut-off valve will be near your pressure tank.

In both cases, there is usually a secondary valve in the utility area of your home, near where the water line enters your house. Homes with city-provided water sometimes have a secondary shut-off point on the exterior wall near the water meter.

Still can’t find the valve? Check the plumbing section of the home inspection report you received when you moved in. You’ll find the location of the valve and a photo of it there.

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

Shutting off an outdoor water main valve may require a few tools. Luckily, they may already be in your toolbox:

  • A socket wrench: Certain shut-off valves have covers held on by a security bolt. A socket wrench can remove this bolt. You can also call the municipal water supplier to unlock the cover.
  • A screwdriver: Screwdrivers can be used to pry off certain covers.
  • Water meter key/channel locks: Some valve adjustments may require a water meter key. Channel locks can be used instead of a key if necessary.

Once you have removed the cover, look inside to find the water shut-off supply valve. It’s usually the valve located closest to your home. To turn it off, twist it clockwise with the water meter key or pliers until it stops moving. Do not force the valve after it stops turning.

Outdoor Water Shut-off Valve FAQs

Why do you need a main water shut-off valve?

If a pipe in your home breaks, the water doesn’t automatically stop flowing. It will continue to deliver 10 to 15 gallons per minute directly onto your carpet or drywall. This can lead to massive water damage in a matter of minutes.

A water shut-off valve can prevent this damage. While it won’t stop pipe bursts, activating it will stop water from flowing out of the broken pipe. And because it cuts the flow of water to the whole home, it is helpful no matter where the leak is.

You should locate your water shut-off valve now and carefully note its location. When a broken pipe is stressing you out, trying to find the valve will only stress you out more. Familiarizing yourself with its location beforehand prevents damage and unnecessary stress.

Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Help with Any Plumbing Emergency

Shutting off the water to your home is only the first step in resolving your plumbing issue. Before you turn the water back on, you need to address the source of the leak. If you need help repairing a broken pipe or loose connection, call the experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing. Our experienced team members offer 24/7 emergency plumbing services to solve your problems quickly. Call now to schedule an estimate or service.