Main water valves are usually located near the sidewalk.
Earthquakes, unexpected frosts and even basic wear and tear can cause your pipes to burst or spring leaks, and in the time it takes for a plumber to arrive, huge quantities of water can flood your home. In the event of an emergency, knowing where your main water valve is and how to turn it off can save you thousands of dollars in damage. Locate your main water valve, point it out to your family members and test it every few months to make sure it is still in working order.
1.-Locate your water meter. If you live in a warm climate, it is probably either attached to an exterior wall of the house or in a compartment in the ground beside the house. If you live in a cold climate, the meter is probably inside the house, generally in the basement if the building has one.
2.-Look for valves attached to the water meter. If there are two valves, select the one closest to the house or farthest from the street. If the meter is outdoors and there aren't any valves beside it, follow the pipe that extends from the meter to the house. If there is no valve anywhere along the line, go inside and locate the place in the basement or on the ground floor where the pipe enters the house. Continue following the pipe until you find a valve, which should be near the wall and easy to reach.
3.-Turn the valve clockwise to close it and shut off the water. If the valve is a gate valve, with a handle shaped like a small wheel, this may require several full rotations. If you can't turn the valve by hand, use a crescent wrench. If the valve is a ball valve, with a handle shaped like a Popsicle stick, its full range of motion is 90 degrees. Turn it so it is perpendicular to the pipe.
4.-Test the water flow by turning on a faucet somewhere in the house. Water should flow briefly while it drains from the pipe, and then the flow should stop. If it doesn't, you've turned off the wrong valve. Return to the water meter and look for another valve earlier on the water line.
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