3130 S 6th Street, Lincoln, NE

Know Your Plumbing #1: Water Supply Shut-Off Valves

We hope it never happens, but there is always a chance of a water leak occurring in your home. Should this unfortunate situation arise you can save yourself time and money by knowing where your water shut-offs are located and how to stop the flow of water to your property.  In this article we will cover the main shut-off locations that should be available to all homes and businesses.

Street Shut-Off (or Curb Stop)

The initial shut-off valve to any property — termed “curb stop” — will be located in the street or utility easement, likely in the front of your property. This shut-off will need to be used under the following situations:

  • If the water service piping from the water main to your house is leaking
  • If water is leaking inside your house before the shut-off valve to your water meter
  • If the other valves in your house are not functioning properly the shut-off at the street may be the only option

This shut-off requires a special “key” that can extend from the curb stop box down to the valve below. Your local plumber will have this key but it will save time if you already know where this stop box is located.

A typical residential curb stop box will look like the one in the picture to the right. However, if you cannot find your stop box you can always check with local water department to locate it for you.

Water Meter Shut-off Valves

Typically there will be a shut-off valve located immediately before your water meter where your water service enters your house. Depending on your water meter, there will also be a shut-off immediately after the water meter. These shut-offs will need to be used under the following situations:

  • If there is a leak from any connections on the water meter
  • If there is a leak anywhere in the house after the water meter
  • If other valves in your house, such as fixture stops, are not functioning properly

The locations of these shut-offs should be known to all residents of the house. In the event that a leak occurs these can be easily turned off to prevent further damage to the house or belongings.

Note: The shut-off valves at the meter may not always appear as they do in the picture on the right. Depending on the type of meter and date of installation you may see valves that look more similar to those at the top of this article.

Fixture Stops

In most homes each sink and toilet should have their own individual supply stop on the hot and cold water lines. These stops will be located underneath sinks and normally to the bottom-left of a toilet — in the wall or through the floor.  Fixture stops can be used when:

  • A plumbing fixture is leaking
  • A plumbing fixture needs to be repaired or replaced

The existence and location of fixture stops may vary depending on the age of your house and the initial plumbing installation. We will always provide fixtures with their own individual stops, similar to the picture on the right.

Shut-off Valve Testing

It is a good idea to test all shut-offs once in a while to ensure that they are still operating properly. If a shut-off ever seems stuck or will not turn do not force it, instead call a professional plumber and have it inspected, repaired, or replaced.

By identifying the locations of your shut-off valves you can save time and money should a leak ever occur inside of your home. In the event that a leak does occur immediately turn your valves to the off position and feel free to contact us for the necessary repairs.

If you have any questions regarding the shut-off valves in your home or would like clarification regarding anything in this article please feel free to leave a comment below.