4th Maintenance Tip: Shutting Off Gas to Your Whole House
Turning off the water to the water heater is simple. As you face the heater, the shut off valve is usually found on the right side, above and behind the heater. There are two types of valves that you will encounter. Most common is the “Gate Valve”, which has a handle that you turn clockwise to stop the water. Less common, but easier to operate is the “Ball Valve”. With a ball valve, a simple 1/4 turn will positively shut off all water to the water heater. Just like the gas shut off valve, the ball valve is OFF when the handle is perpendicular or “cross ways” with the pipe.
Turning off the water to your house requires you to find the main control valve on your water line; it’s a good idea to do this at your leisure before an emergency occurs. There may be a handle or a valve where your main water line enters your house and/or before the main line enters your water meter. Bear in mind that the water meter may be located outside your house, near the street, underground, with access through a metal cover at the top. If you don’t know where your water meter is, your local utility can help you locate it.
The handles on either of these valves may be rotary (like an older faucet handle), a paddle, or a metal flange. To shut off the water, turn the rotary handle to the right until it will not turn any further or turn the paddle until it will no longer turn. Valves with a metal flange must be turned just a quarter-turn, but they require a pipe wrench to turn them. It is useful to leave a wrench near the valve so it is handy in an emergency.