There are two types of emergency shut-off valves in your home - gas and water. These shut-off valves stop the flow of water or gas to your home in the event of an emergency.
It’s crucial to know where the shut-off valves are located within your home and understand when to use them. Make sure that other members of your household know this information too, so they can quickly turn off the water or gas supply in the event of an emergency.
First, let’s identify where the water shut-off valve is located. There are a few different places that it may be, so you may have to take a look around to identify where it is. If you have a basement or crawlspace, the main water shut-off valve is typically located on an interior wall and should be easy to spot. If you don’t have a basement, the shut-off valve may be located near the hot water heater or in the garage. Rotate the handle clockwise to turn off the water supply.
If you have checked inside your home and are unable to locate the shut-off valve, then take a look outside. You will be looking for a covered box underground at the end of your property line/street. This is typically a cement box and you may need a special meter key (available at local hardware stores) to open it. Once it is opened you will turn the handle clockwise to shut off the water supply.
Now, let’s locate the gas shut-off valve. There 2 main gas shut-off valves for your home. If your house has natural gas, then you have a main shut-off valve that is also referred to as the street-side valve. This valve is located just before the gas meter. A wrench is required to open and close this valve. This valve should be used as a last resort because gas companies would prefer that only their employees operate this valve. You have a house-side main shut-off valve that should be used first.
The house-side valve is often located where the gas pipe first enters your home. It will always be located before the first appliance in your home. If you have an older home, it may be possible that you don’t have a house-side valve, so you will need to locate the street-side valve and use that one in the event of an emergency.
Also note that there are individual gas shut-off valves for appliances within your home (i.e. dryer, stove, furnace, water heater, etc.). This is especially convenient because if a repair is required on a certain appliance, you can turn the gas valve off to that appliance only instead of the entire house.
Now that you have located the main water and gas shut-off valves in your home - LABEL THEM!
You will save yourself so much time and worry by labeling these valves. Labeling them will make it easier for you so you don’t have to remember which valve is for what AND it will also make it easier for someone else to shut off the main water/gas supply to your home in an emergency.
If you identify that you need a special wrench or tool to engage the shut-off valve, then have the tool hanging right by the valve so it’s easy to locate!
You should use the emergency water shut-off valve if you experience frozen or burst pipes or a pipe leak. It is also recommended to turn off the water supply if you are going to leave your home for a long period of time. This is especially necessary if you leave your home to travel during the winter months.
The emergency gas shut-off valve should be used in emergent situations such as when you smell gas in your home, hear gas escaping from the pipes, see a broken gas line, or if you suspect a gas leak. The next step is to contact your gas company for further instructions and support.
If you have checked your home but are not 100% sure where your emergency shut-off valves are located, give us a call! We would be happy to help you locate and label the shut-off valves so there is no confusion and you are prepared in the event of an emergency.