How To Turn The Gas And Water Off To Your House

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Today it’s all about how to turn the gas and water off to your home. A couple years ago I happened to go out to our garage to get a loaf of bread out of the freezer. Well, we had water running down the shelf that held our 8-year-old water heater. I mean like a small river. I was surprised, and I’m sure most of you would be too. In some disasters the issue may not be water that is rushing from the gas water heater, it may be the gas due to a bent or broken gas line. So, I want to challenge everyone to find your water and gas turn off valves, today.

Here’s the deal, I have neighbors call ME to ask how to shut off the water line to their house. It’s been because their water heater has gone out, or they read where I suggested they consider turning off the water when they leave their home for a few days. Let’s start with turning off your water. I hope this picture helps you. You turn the handle either horizontal or vertical depending the direction of the pipe.

How To Turn Off The Water To Your House

Turn The Water Off

We all need to know how to turn the water off in our houses, as well as outside our homes. I had a cute neighbor who was a plumber by trade and he told me once, “I wish people would turn the water lines off when they go out of town even for 3 or 4 days.” He said, “If people only knew how much damage water can do to their house if it springs a significant leak while they are gone, they would turn off the water inside the house whenever leaving to go on a weekend or long vacation.”

He also mentioned to “turn off your hot and cold water pipe valves to their washing machine” as another, less safe option if you are going to leave for an extended period of time. Well, I am sure my neighbors would have called me if they saw water running down the driveway from under the garage door. I’m just glad I was home and not out of town. I used so many towels to mop up the water, as you can only imagine, right?

Learn Where To Turn Off Your Water Heater Valve

He also showed us how to turn the water heater valve off at the top of the water heater to STOP more water going into the leaky water heater. It made me think about what would happen if we had a disruption in our city water lines, and thus, no hot water. We at least had cold water for 48 hours. We can live with cold water for a few days. Boy, do we take these water heaters for granted!

The water valve shown above turns off the water to the whole house. My plumber told us we could shut off just the hot water by turning a valve on the top right water inlet pipe above the heater (not shown).  Once the new heater was installed he turned the valve back on. We had already turned off the gas line to the water heater once we knew the heater was not functioning properly. You can see the red gas valve on the bottom left side of the heater in the picture above. Yours may be somewhat different. I know many of you have electrice water heaters, so the gas line issue doesn’t apply. But if the heating element goes out in that electric water heater, or if the unit starts leaking water out of the bottom like mine did, you’ll still need to turn off the water source.

Please take a minute today to see where to turn the water off to your house. Not tomorrow, today. Please be prepared for the unexpected.

How To Turn The Gas Off

Here’s a picture on how to turn the gas off to your house.

How To Turn Off Gas

Here is a tool every family should have in order to turn off your gas line. Please know, I am not telling you to turn off your gas line unless you feel you are in eminent danger and you can’t contact the gas company. You can sometimes cause more problems if you turn off your gas and then must have the gas company come and turn it back on. I’m just asking you to be prepared with a tool that you can use if you have an emergency.

4 in 1 Tool

TED: Warning, Warning, Warning
Turning off the gas to your house at the street is important, but turning it back on again is a different thing. It is best to have an official technician from the gas company turn it back on.

The problem is that part of the gas meter system is a 4 inch disc shaped object in the gas pipe near the meter. This disc contains a thin membrane that changes the 30 pounds of gas pressure from the street to about 6 pounds of gas pressure in the house. I f you turn the gas meter on in one fast turn it is possible to rupture this membrane and you get 30 pounds of gas pressure inside of the house which can have dire consequences.

There is a careful way to turn the gas back on just as the gas company technician would do it but it is a slow process involving turning all of the gas valves off inside the house appliances and observing the second hand on the gas meter as you turn the valve on very slowly to make sure no gas is flowing inside the house. Then the membrane is not ruptured. Then turn each appliance’s gas on including lighting the pilot light according to each appliance’s procedure.

Final Word

Here’s the deal, please show your family members how to turn off the water to your house. If they are older, show them where the gas line valves are. Let’s be prepared before we need to be. May God bless this world, Linda

P.S. Please check your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. Change them out if they are too old, or replace their batteries if that’s all that’s needed.

Change Your Air Conditioning/Heater Filters

Storing Water by Linda

10 thoughts on “How To Turn The Gas And Water Off To Your House

  • July 16, 2019 at 7:47 am
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    Timely article
    My sons hot water heater thermocouple went out. I get the part and go over to help him. He goes out to shut the gas off. Several minutes go by and he don’t come back so I go to check on him. Turns out his value was buried in the dirt and we had to dig it out. Then it was so froze up that I had to use a cheater bar. Just for reference I’m 6’ 230 and lift daily. My point on this is go out now and find this stuff then actually try it because not only did this happen but the inside shut off valve was already broken from the prior owner unbeknownst to us.
    My water shut off tool is zip tied to my chain link fence right by it. You don’t even notice it.
    I’m gonna have to look at these multi tools you got posted for me and my kids places.

    Reply
    • July 16, 2019 at 8:43 am
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      Matt, I can relate to your son’s problem from when I had my old house (a fixer upper). When I told my dad I was moving into a house built in 1884, he told me the first thing I needed to do was learn the mechanicals! Boy was he correct! The water shut-off valve was in a hole in the basement floor. The breaker box was in a dark corner where there wasn’t a light for 10 feet. The gas shutoff was in yet another dark corner…yep, all mechanicals in the basement. Lmao, but it was ‘such a joy’ to simply flip a breaker when a short occurred. I kept a flashlight on a hook on basement door. I considered myself lucky that the previous person had changed the electric box to breaker switches, rather than the old glass ones! That’s what one of my neighbors still had!

      Reply
      • July 16, 2019 at 9:01 am
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        My first house had glass ones and we changed over so I sure know where your coming from lol

        Reply
    • July 16, 2019 at 9:14 am
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      OH my gosh Matt, YIKES!!! Great tip on the zip tie to the chain-link fence! This is another reason we all need to know where to turn off the gas and water!! Thanks for sharing! Linda

      Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 8:22 am
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    Linda, this is a great article! I can think of too many times my family averted disaster just because I taught my sons and grandson the ‘mechanicals’ of our home. The oldest was 21 when I built our home, younger son was 4, grandson was 2. (I have a modular, no basement, but I was the general contractor for it, which saved about $60g but that’s another story…) Because I was the GC, but not always around, I showed my oldest exactly how the propane lineage worked, how to turn off electricity for whole house (and, yes, how to turn it off the electricity at the pole), how to turn off well pump as well as turn offs for each water line. He said he felt almost overwhelmed. He was dang glad he knew all this when the gas water heater got installed, turned on by plumber, then the guy left. Suddenly black smoke billowed out from the mechanicals room! Son knew how to handle everything! Plumber had forgotten to switch the heater from natural gas to propane! (It’s just a little tiny part on the gas inlet.) My son quickly shut off the main electric in the house, shut off the propane going to water heater, then went outside, turned off the big electric at pole, turned off the main line for propane tank. He no longer felt I’d overdone my lessons.
    So, I don’t know how much different people’s systems are, but one thing about a gas leak is that most times, a fire or explosion happens due to an electrical spark. In my case, all major mechanicals are near each other: gas, water, and electric. So knowing how to shut down electricity is just as important as the other 2. Lol, thanks to my teaching, all we had to do was air out that part of house with fans, then I put on the little conversion thingee. Could this have caused a fire? Heck yea! Yep, I had a chat with the plumber. Long story but it sure showed my son the importance of ‘knowing’ about the basics. Together, we taught our other boys about these same things by the time they were each 8! Then, would go over stuff often during their early years. These guys are now 18, 20 and 37, but I don’t worry when I leave home on biz trips. Lol, over the years, they’ve also learned the joys of septic and well maintenance…it truly amazes me when homeowners don’t know anything about the True Basics of our good living: gas, electric and water. Keep up the education, Linda!

    Reply
    • July 16, 2019 at 9:16 am
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      Hi Wendy, wow, I love hearing all the things you taught your kids and grandkids! We must teach them these skills! Thank goodness your son knew what to do, God was watching over him. Great comment! Linda

      Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 8:43 am
    Permalink

    Warning, warning, warning
    Turning off the gas to your house at the street is important, but turning it back on again is a different thing. It is best to have an official technician from the gas company turn it back on.

    The problem is that part of the gas meter system is a 4 inch disc shaped object in the gas pipe near the meter. This disc contains a thin membrane that changes the 30 pounds of gas pressure from the street to about 6 pounds of gas pressure in the house. I f you turn the gas meter on in one fast turn it is possible to rupture this membrane and you get 30 pounds of gas pressure inside of the house which can have dire consequences.

    There is a careful way to turn the gas back on just as the gas company technician would do it but it is a slow process involving turning all of the gas valves off inside the house appliances and observing the second hand on the gas meter as you turn the valve on very slowly to make sure no gas is flowing inside the house. Then the membrane is not ruptured. Then turn each appliance’s gas on including lighting the pilot light according to each appliance’s procedure.

    Reply
    • July 16, 2019 at 9:19 am
      Permalink

      Hi Ted, thank you for your great comment! You may have noticed I said “call the gas company” to turn it back on. I’m adding your comment to my post!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Linda

      Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 1:46 pm
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    Linda, as always you are right on target. I must take this to my FB friends and spread the word. I had no idea so I am grateful for your knowledge, especially now that my husband has passed.
    Love you to the moon and back my sweet friend.
    Vivian
    Cincinnati Ohio

    Reply
    • July 16, 2019 at 3:26 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Vivian, I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s passing. Hugs from Utah!! You know some things seem so simple but they need to be shown where to turn off the water and gas. Hugs to you my sweet friend!! Linda

      Reply

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