Locate Your Water Main Today

Heather says:

All homeowners (and renters, too) should know where and how to shut off their water main. Turning off the main water valve can prevent the minor hassle of a broken pipe from becoming a major water damage headache. If you have never needed to learn where the water main shut off valve is, take a moment and find it, right now.

The main shut off should be on your side of the water meter.

If you are in a home with a basement, there is a good chance the water shut off valve is inside your home, wherever the water meter is located.

Those of us who do not have basements are more likely to find their main shut off valve under the meter cover, typically near the street. This may not be true for all homes.

If you develop a leak near a sink or toilet, there should a valve you can turn off between the line and the fixture. In very new homes, there may not be a shut off valve for individual toilets.

Once the water passes through the water meter, you are responsible for the bill, the maintenance and the repair.

Last night I was talking with a friend when her husband discovered a leak from the main line to the house. Thankfully, the leak was not inside or under their home. However, by the time the leak was discovered their yard was fully saturated. That’s a lot of water to be responsible for, but there’s a chance she can call the billing department and negotiate to have the sewage portion of the bill waved. Sometimes, if you are filling a swimming pool for instance the water company will put a special meter on the spigot used to fill the pool so that outflow can be subtracted from the amount of water that is assumed to have gone down the drain.


  1. Amy on December 17, 2010 at 12:01 am

    We just received a letter from our water company telling us how to find our water shut-off valve. The one in the meter box by the road is intended for water company use. The letter says that we can find it in our basement (we don't have one), next to the water heater or buried directly under our front hose faucet approximately 1 foot from the foundation and 18 inches down. I guess I better start looking for mine.

  2. casey on December 10, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I have a story about that toilet shutoff valve (my house is 55 yrs old). A few months ago I came home from work and my cleaning lady had left a note on the master bedroom toilet (Toilet No Work). I'm actually pretty good at DIY toilet repair so I took the cover off. There was no water in the tank. I poured water from the sink in there and flushed – water went down but the tank didn't refill. So I replaced all the flow valves thinking I had a leak, didn't work. Finally after two weeks of using the guest bath toilet, I asked my dogwalker/handyman to look at it. Turned out the valve had been turned off so no water was flowing from the pipe into the toilet. Still not sure how that happened unless it was shut off while the toilet was cleaned and she just forgot to turn it back on.

  3. Erin on December 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Where would a shutoff valve be if you have a well? (I can turn off the well pump, but it takes awhile for the lines to run dry after that.)

    • Lucy on December 10, 2010 at 8:15 am

      Begin looking where the pipe comes out of the pressure tank and just follow the pipe to the shut-off. If the pipe branches before you find a shut-off, there isn't one. They really aren't too hard to put in yourself and it should cost $10 to $15 for DIY depending on what tools you have on hand.

      • HeatherSolos on December 10, 2010 at 9:47 am

        Great advice, Lucy. Thank you. I don't think my sister has shut off valves behind some of her fixtures, I may pester her into letting me install one, so I can take pics of the process.

      • Bear on May 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm

        What a joy to find seomnoe else who thinks this way.

  4. Lucy on December 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    A shut-off for each fixture is a worthwhile improvement project.

    Unfortunately I am all too familiar with our water system, and waste water system also.

  5. casey on December 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    While you're looking, find the gas cutoff valve too. Not as costly if there is a leak, but much MUCH more dangerous.

    • HeatherSolos on December 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm

      Excellent point.

      • casey on December 10, 2010 at 9:53 am

        Oh, and I believe the rule of thumb is turn your own water back on, but the gas company must turn the gas back on.

        I turned my water back on myself after evacuating from Hurrican Ike anyway, but Centerpoint (local gas company) came to turn my gas back on.

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