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How to Turn Water Off at the Meter

Updated February 21, 2017

In the event of an emergency, such as a busted water pipe, you need to know how to shut off the water at the meter. Grouped with the meter is a water shut-off valve. In most cases the valve has a handle that you turn to open and close just like the shut-off valve located under your kitchen sink. In other cases, the valve is a ball valve with a long handle that you rotate to turn on and off. If you are not sure which type of valve you have, make sure you look for both.

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  1. Locate the area where the water lines enter your home. In most cases, this is going to be in the basement on the wall that faces the street. Look for a metal pipe protruding from the wall. Check around your water heater or furnace if your furnace uses water for radiant heat. Often, these units are installed close to the water line. Once you locate the water line coming into the home, follow the pipe to determine if a shut-off valve is mounted to the pipe. If so, go to step three. If not, proceed to step two.

  2. Exit the home and go to the location outside where the pipe enters the home. Walk in a straight line out to the sidewalk or street until you find a round access cover. It will look like a miniature manhole only a few inches in diameter. Watch for traffic if your meter access is on the side of the road. Sometimes you need a flathead screwdriver to pry the cover up. Locate the shut-off valve inside the hole.

  3. Rotate the handle on the shut-off valve clockwise to close it.

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Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver

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