Emergency Shut-Off Locations

Emergency Shut-off locations are the first thing that homeowners need to be aware of. Depending on the emergency, it often becomes necessary to shut-off a utility quickly. Therefore, every responsible member of a household should make a mental note of the shut-off locations and understand how each operates.

Water: Water can be turned off either at a meter near a curb or at one close to a house. Shutting it off near a meter usually requires a plumber’s key and a little muscle, although some modern valves are able to be turned off with an ordinary wrench, and some with just fingers. When the water is on, the valve key should lie in the same direction as the pipe, and can be turned off with a ninety degree turn, leaving the key at right angles to the pipe.

Shutting it off at the house is considerably easier, and accomplished by turning a gate valve clockwise until it stops, or by turning the handle of a sweep valve until it stops or is at right angles to the pipe.

Gas: Shutting off the gas works in exactly the same way, except the valve is nearly always on a vertical pipe below the meter. It requires either an adjustable wrench or a specialized slotted tool. The valve can be turned ninety degrees in either direction, or until it is at right angles to the pipe.

Electricity: Turning off electricity is easy. Most modern electric panels have a disconnect switch inside a weatherproof cover, which shuts off the entire service as shown in the picture below. However, older panels could have a similar switch, or fused pull-out, in an adjacent panel. And some could have a lever at the side of the panel, which serves the same purpose.