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Old 08-22-2007, 10:39 AM   #1
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Master (water) shutoff valve


I have been trying to find my master water shutoff valve in my house. Its about 40 years old. The plumbing guy told me it was in a certain spot but when i turned it it did not work. I don't want to pay a ton of money to call the guy back since he was a bozo.

Is there any way to find the valve? When did they use to put the valve back in the old days?

I have a valve under the sink that does nothing and a hall closet when used to have oil furnance and now have gas and has plenty of valves but none shut off the water.

Any help much appreciated.

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Old 08-22-2007, 10:52 AM   #2
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Master (water) shutoff valve


Are you on public water with a meter?
You should be able to turn off the water at the meter with a meter key or small adjustable wrench. The shut-off valve on the street side of the meter usually has a rectangular brass "handle" to turn it. Also, there should be a small gauge or triangle on the meter that moves when the water is running or leaking. It should not move after you turn it off.
Your main shut-off valve should either be in or near the meter base on the house side, or at the base of the house perhaps jsut outside it in a covered hole. or on the main water line after it enters under the house (basement or crawlspace).
Good luck!
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:04 PM   #3
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Master (water) shutoff valve


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Originally Posted by rmdyjoe View Post
I have been trying to find my master water shutoff valve in my house. Its about 40 years old. The plumbing guy told me it was in a certain spot but when i turned it it did not work..
So, which is it?
You can't find it? Or you can't get it to work?

The shutoff should be where the water enters the house.

However, I have seen master shutoff's that were buried in the yard. That required digging along the line to find the shutoff box. That was in AZ and was a crazy town...I can't imagine any other town would replicate that.
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:18 PM   #4
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Master (water) shutoff valve


Try and find where the line comes in through the foundation or through the slab (basement floor) the main should be just after that. If it's an older gate valve (you have to turn the handle around a few times) their is a good chance the valve is bad. If that is the case you can use the shutoff on the meter (someone already described how to do that) if you have one, if you don't have a shutoff on the meter you need to shut the water off at the curb stop which requires a special tool. The water district may shut it off and turn it on free of change depending on where you live.
In any case if your main valve is not holding it needs to be replaced.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:15 PM   #5
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Master (water) shutoff valve


How do I get one of these "special tools" or "meter keys" metioned above to shut my water off with? Do hardware stores carry them? Is there another tool that works? A plain old wire plier seems to not work as the space down in my water main hole is very limited and I cannot gain access to the switch from the side in order to get enough of a grip to turn the switch.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:45 PM   #6
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Master (water) shutoff valve


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Originally Posted by NyteNArmor View Post
How do I get one of these "special tools" or "meter keys" metioned above to shut my water off with? Do hardware stores carry them? Is there another tool that works? A plain old wire plier seems to not work as the space down in my water main hole is very limited and I cannot gain access to the switch from the side in order to get enough of a grip to turn the switch.
For public water what you want is a street main shutoff key which is a 3~4' long rod with a T handle and forked sort of end. I recently bought one at Lowes for 12.50, if you can't find it at home/hardware stores a plumbing supply will definitely have it at about 15~25 dollars.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:06 PM   #7
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Master (water) shutoff valve


I'm heading to Lowes now!
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:55 AM   #8
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Master (water) shutoff valve


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I'm heading to Lowes now!
It is made by Orbit if that is a help- I saw it near underground sprinkler supplies in the plumbing dept.

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