Your Water Main Shut Off Valve – Where Is It?
Article by Jasmine
Webmistress The Majickal Garden
I had an incident with a leaky pipe in my garage recently while my man of the house was gone overnight. As soon as I walked in I saw a puddle next to the door on the floor I traced to a dripping pipe under the counter. Immediately the thought popped in my head a dripping pipe could turn into a gusher so I set about dealing with this matter – by myself! My answer was to turn the water off and not take any chances.
Now, I knew our main shut off valve is in the driveway, off to the side, close to the road covered by a concrete square with a removable lid. I also knew that was where the water company reads our meter. I had never looked under the lid. Other homes might have theirs in a basement or an outside wall in a utility area of the house. These types could have a vertical handle shut off or a knob.
I understood there was a special tool required to turn off the water and that it looked like a “T”. No idea how large it was but I set about the hunt in the garage for it. My back up plan was in understanding this might possibly be done with a wrench but was hoping for the proper tool. I’d heard that if not done properly a wrench could possibly break the valve. A quick scan of tools hanging on the walls took me to the door where lo and behold it hung proudly on a couple of nails behind some cords and shovels just waiting for me. Credit due to my husband for his foresight for its place! It’s about 25 inches tall made of metal with a single handle running across the top. They can be purchased at hardware stores.
It was around midnight and raining pretty well when I trudged out with my flashlight and proper tool in hand. After lifting the cover I could see the clear domed meter with dials on it. A quick brush of the dirt that had accumulated over the valve exposed it and I was able to easily align the bottom of the metal rod with the U shaped opening and turn it clockwise until it was shut off.
Potential crisis averted! No one wants the damage that a broken pipe can bring but with this knowledge it can be simple to stop it quickly. It pays to be ready and know where your shut off valve is and how to do it. I read that it’s possible that the type we have could have been so long without use that it has become “frozen”. That information would be useful to know before there was an emergency as well as the location of yours.