How to Find and Use Your Shutoff Valve

How to Find and Use Your Shutoff Valve

It's essential that you are able to locate and use the water shutoff valve in your home. You'll need to use this handy mechanism whenever you have plumbing work done on your home, or in the event of an emergency, or to help protect your home when you leave for a vacation.

Every home is equipped with a main water shutoff valve. It serves to allow a full flow of water into your home when opened up, and to cut the flow of water to your home completely when turned off.

If you've never searched out and found your main shutoff valve before, it's a smart idea to do it now, when you're in a calm, collected state of mind. Just think about how frantic you might feel locating and trying to turn the shut off calve during a plumbing emergency, as gallons of water leak into your home!

Here's how to find and use your home's water shutoff valve:

How to Find and Use Your Main Water Shutoff Valve

You can usually locate your shutoff valve valve in one of three areas:

  • The basement
  • On an outside wall
  • In a utility area of the home, such as a garage or laundry room

Almost all water meters have one main shutoff valve on the house side of the the meter, and another on the street side the meter. The shutoff valve you're looking for is the one on the house side of the street, as this is the one which will shut off the main water source to your home.

How do you know you've found it? The shutoff valve you're looking for is typically a gate-type valve with a round, knurled handle. It should require several full clockwise rotations to turn off the water completely.

Using Other Types of Shutoff Valves

While most valves will look like gate-types with handles, there are plenty of variations around Chicago. If you have a newer home, it could be a ball valve, in which case a 90 degree turn, perpendicular to the pipe, should do the trick.

Other valves you may find around your Chicago property include buried curb stop valves (which are accessible only by city workers and require special long-handled wrenches) and a corporation stop (which hooks your house water line up to the water main). These are two you don't need to mess around with - and absolutely shouldn't. Leave them to the pros, should you come across them. 

Have any more questions? Having a hard time finding or using your shutoff valve? Don't hesitate to drop us a line, or reach out for any extra advice on Facebook or Twitter. Whether it's routine maintenance, proactive plumbing, or an all-out emergency, our team is here and ready to help, day or night.