By Rick Williams, Director of Utilities
One of the most impactful lessons learned from our past two years of freezing weather is knowing the location of your main water shut off valve prior to an emergency.
If you have a leaking pipe that's gushing water into your home, it's important to get the water supply turned off as quickly as possible to minimize damage. Depending on the situation or location of a leak you can also locate shut off valves inside the house for certain appliances and fixtures such as your water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, sinks and toilets. If something erupts at one of these spots, a good first step that might save you some immediate flow, is to shut one of these down quickly, then move out to the main shut off valve if required.
Main shut off valves that control the flow of all water to your residence and irrigation system are located right near your water meter. Most City water meters have two shut off valves. One located on the City’s supply side of the meter (Corporation Stop) and another on the customer side entering the property (see image). To shut off the water supply at this point, stopping all water to the residence and the irrigation system, rotate the customer valve clockwise 90 degrees or until it stops. You will need to have a meter shut off wrench or crescent wrench. Some valves may have a round or square handle that can be turned by hand. The valve can be hard to turn, and care should be taken not to break the valve by putting too much pressure on the turning nut. If you cannot get your cut off valve to stop the flow, contact the City for assistance with the City side valve.
Whenever you move into a new property, familiarize yourself with where your water switch-off valve is located. In case of an emergency, you don't want to be in the position of having to waste valuable time looking for it. It's a good idea to ask the property owner, real estate agent or the previous owner where the location of the valve is before you move in.
Leaving Town? Protect your home from a water line break by shutting off water to the house. However, it is important to remember a few issues that must be addressed when the water is off to the home.
First, all water heaters should have the power turned off to prevent damage to the heating elements to eliminate possible fire hazard as the heater becomes empty.
Second, cutting the water off at the meter will also stop water to irrigation systems, leaving your yard and landscapes dependent on rain only. To keep irrigation on, an additional valve is required on the water line after the irrigation tie in point to isolate the house plumbing. Many homes already have these house shut off valves installed and may be found in the garage, close to irrigation feeder connections, or where the water line enters the house close to the slab.
If you have any questions or need assistance in locating your water shut off valve, you can contact the City Utilities Department at (830) 598-8741. We will be happy to assist you.
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