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Three Ways to Locate Your Home Water Shut-Off Valve

Most homes have a main water shut-off valve located inside the house. Others may have it in a small pit near the property line. If you don’t know where the main water shut-off valve is in your home, you should find it immediately. You have no way of knowing when plumbing leaks might occur. Running around trying to find your home’s water shut-off valve when a leak is in progress will be detrimental to your home.

We all love the convenience of water flowing at our beck and call every time we turn a faucet on. That said, there are times it can flow when and where we don’t want it to. A burst or leaking pipe is every homeowner’s nightmare. Water damage is very expensive to repair. By reading this post, you’ll find out how to limit its scope and severity by knowing how to quickly cut off the flow of water.

Finding the Water Shut-Off Valve

Try Physically Searching Your Home

The first handy tip for finding the valve inside your home is to search the side of your house that is facing the street. This is because the water pipe comes straight into your home from the street. The valve for your house might be inside or out. If your house has a basement, this will be the first place to look. Otherwise, it may be in the crawl space under your home. It will also likely be near a major water fixture or appliance, such as the kitchen sink or the water heater.

Check Your Home Inspection Report

If you did your due diligence when buying the property, you would have had a home inspection done. Among other details about the home, the plumbing section of the home inspection report should clearly indicate where the shut-off valve is. It may even have a photo of the valve, so you will know what you’re looking for.

Locate the Street Valve

If you’re completely stymied about finding the valve for the house, then you can look for the one out on the curb in front of your home. You’ll need to look for a metal or plastic lid that will be covering it. It might have a similar appearance to a manhole cover, however, it will be smaller and may not be round. You simply lift the cover, and when you look down, you’ll see the valve right next to the meter that measures your home’s water usage.

How to Shut Off the Valve

Your Home Shut-Off Valve

The valve inside your house will usually come with either a knife-style handle or a round handle. The round one is just like it sounds. You simply turn it as many times as necessary in a clockwise direction until it doesn’t turn anymore. The knife handle will be straight, and when it’s in the open position, it will be parallel with the pipe it’s connected to. It will only turn in one direction. It should only take a quarter turn to stop the flow of water.

The Street Shut-Off Valve

After removing the cover over the street valve, you should see the water meter, which will have numbers on it that your water company’s meter reader checks monthly. Next to this is where the shut-off valve is located. 

This is where things get a bit tricky. To turn off this valve, you will usually need something known as a water key or water meter key. This video shows how the meter and valve will usually look and how to use a key to shut it off. Because this option can require a special tool, it’s definitely a good idea to find your home’s own water shut-off valve, so you will be able to cut it off there. If you want to have one around for peace of mind, you should be able to pick up a water key at your local hardware store.

Is It Necessary to Use the Main Water Shut-Off?

Sometimes, you’ll have a leak that’s fairly specific in location. If the faucet for a particular sink is leaking, for example, you can find two pipes for hot and cold water leading up to the faucet. Turning these fully clockwise will shut off the water to that particular sink. The same would apply to a leaking or running toilet. Typically, the valve for it will be low down and behind it where it faces the wall. If it’s only a particular plumbing fixture or appliance leaking, there may not be any need to inconvenience the whole family with a lack of water throughout the home.

Don’t Let Water Damage Your Home!

Water damage can be one of the most expensive problems you could face as a homeowner. It can cause damage in a number of ways.

Structural Damage

Water can erode support beams and weaken floorboards and other structural supports in your house. The longer it sits, the more cracks and crevices it can seep into, which only makes the situation worse. 

Restoration Costs

Even if the home’s overall structure isn’t damaged, you could still be looking at major repair and renovation expenses. Water leaking all over your floors could mean having to lay down new tiles, and leaking pipes behind a wall could mean drywall work. 

Destruction of Possessions

If you have a pipe spring a major leak, you better hope you don’t have any possessions sitting low on the floor. A flooded basement might even ruin things that are up off the floor if you can’t locate the water shut-off valve soon enough. 


Particularly if you have allergies or asthma, mold can be a dangerous side effect of water damage. Preventing its growth is a big reason that water damage restoration is needed after flooding or a major plumbing leak. 

Call a Tennessee Plumbing Professional to Fix the Problem

Right after shutting off the water, you need to call a professional to fix what caused the leak. Whether you need a Memphis plumber or a Germantown plumber, you’ll be glad to know there’s an experienced Tennessee plumbing company in your area.

When you need Tennessee plumbing experts, you need to call River City Plumbing. Our experienced master plumbers get to the root of the problem quickly. We’ll tell you exactly what’s wrong, what it will take to fix it, and what it will cost you. We can handle any of your plumbing needs quickly. Please give our Germantown plumbers a call today, so we can set up an appointment at your convenience.

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