Tips for locating your home’s main water shut off valve

Your home’s main water shut off valve is often an overlooked feature, but you will wish one day in the event of a leak,  that you know where it is at in a moment’s notice.  Fortunately, you don’t need to be a detective when it comes to locating your home’s main water shut off valve.  There are a few usual suspects that can be hiding its location.

First you should know that your water meter located outside is a last resort option for turning off your water to your home and usually requires a special valve tool to turn it off and on; that, or a tricky use of pliers in what is typically a wet, muddy hole.  Most modern homes are equipped with a secondary water shut off valve that are more accessible and quicker to turn off on the inside.

Interior valves are usually either one of two styles:

A Gate Valve which resembles your garden hose attachment

or a Ball  valve that has a lever on it

Here’s some places to look inside your home:

1)  Look in closets on the front of your home for little cabinets; these little cabinets on interior walls may have your shut off valve.  Most shut off valves for water will be painted blue but don’t be surprised if they are over-sprayed with paint.

2) Look in your laundry room

3) Look in your garage walls

4)  Look under your bathroom or kitchen sinks (all faucets and toilets usually have their own secondary shut off valves so a main shut off valve would be in addition to these)

Rules of thumb for colors used on valves:  Water is blue, hot water is red, gas is yellow

Take a few minutes to locate your own shut off valves.  You never know when you might need it!

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