Find Your Main Water Shut-off Valve
In case of a plumbing emergency, it’s a good idea to know how (and where) to turn off your main water supply – as well as the various isolation valves inside your home. A ruptured line or burst pipe can wreak havoc on your home and potentially cost you thousands in water damage and water bills.
In severe cold weather, the water in your pipes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands and can burst the pipe. Take note of any freeze warnings and familiarize yourself on how to prevent frozen pipes. There are many instructional videos online that may help you.
Being able to contain a water leak as soon as possible will greatly help with damage control and allow more time to correct the situation. Everyone in your home should know exactly where the water shutoff valve is located and how to turn it off.
Where is the main water shutoff valve located?
Different builders use different equipment and locations for main water shutoff valve placement. Your main water shutoff valve could be located in several different areas. If you have a home with a crawlspace, it could be located there on an interior wall near the front of the house, where the water comes in from the water meter.
If your home was built on a slab, the valve is likely located in your yard, near the water meter box. The water meter box is normally a cement or plastic box buried in the ground near your front curb. The box will be covered with a plastic or metal cover and may look like one of these:
Note: The examples above are not representative of all meter box covers in the city of Georgetown. Your cover may look slightly different. Your water shutoff valve cover will likely look similar to the meter box cover and be found 2-3 feet away (toward your home) from the water meter box. Once you’ve located your shutoff valve, you should familiarize yourself on how to turn the water off when/if needed.
TIP: Be careful when opening the box. Small critters, reptiles, bugs, or other surprises may be waiting for you. It’s a good idea to periodically check under your shutoff valve cover as well as your meter cover to make sure they are both free of debris.
TIP: Old water valves can be damaged and corroded. Only use your hand to turn your water valves on or off. If you cannot do it by hand, call a professional plumber. The image below shows a compressed view of how the water meter and main shut-off valve work together. As stated before, the main shut-off valve will actually be 2-3 feet away from the meter, not close together as shown in the image.
WARNING: DO NOT tamper with the city shut-off valve or the meter itself. It is illegal to tamper with, obstruct access to, or remove a water meter. Be very careful, and if you have any doubts at all, call Customer Care at 512-930-3640.
If you are still unable to locate your main water shutoff valve, your local irrigation specialist or plumber should be able to tell you where it is and show you how it works. Additionally, if you still have your property inspection report, you should be able to find the area of the document that shows you where your main water shutoff valve is located.
What if I have a small leak under the kitchen sink? Do I need to shut the water off at the main valve? No, as long as the leak is between the isolation valve and the sink. Most, if not all sinks, toilets, washing machines and water heaters have their own shut-off valves. These are called isolation valves. If there is no isolation valve, or the leak is behind the isolation valve, you will need to turn off the main valve.
For sinks, the valves are located against the wall directly under the sink (usually inside a cabinet). Washing machines have valves directly behind the machine in the same location as the drainage hose. Washing machines and sinks have two valves, one for cold water and one for hot water. Toilet valves are typically located behind and below the toilet on the pipe/hose that comes out of the wall. Water heaters have a shut-off valve on the pipe that sends water into the tank. Ice makers and dishwashers may also
have isolation valves. Don’t wait until you’re faced with a damaging and costly leak. Find your shut-off valves today. If you need further assistance, contact your local irrigation specialist, plumber or builder.
In the event you have a major leak that causes an excessively high water bill, contact Customer Care at (512) 930-3640 for payment options.