How To Find Your Home’s Main Water Shut Off Valve

2 hand man open water ball valve

Unless you happen to be a plumber or a plumbing expert, or if you’ve encountered a previous situation which required you to shut off the water supply to your home, you probably aren’t too sure exactly where your main shut off valve is located. Fortunately there are a few simple ways you can determine where the shut off valve is in your home, and we’ll be happy to fill you in!

Starting Your Search

When trying to locate your shut off valve, you can make the search easy by keeping a few facts in mind. For homes in Vancouver and other cities throughout the lower mainland, water will always be fed into your home through pipes that come from the street. With this in mind, you should always start looking for your water main valve on the wall of your home that faces the street. Most likely this valve will be found in your basement near the wall on the front of your house. If you can’t seem to find it there, the valve may be located in a wall behind an access panel. This is often the case in finished basements.

If you still can’t find the shut off, try checking out your home’s property inspection report. In here the inspector will have made note about the status of your water shut off valve and its exact location in your home. There are some cases where it can be difficult to access the shut off valve once it is found, and sometimes the valve itself can be damaged or too difficult to close by hand. In these cases, you can contact your local water supplier’s emergency number to have their service shut off your water at an exterior valve located underground in front of your home.

Turning Off the Shut Off

Now that you have found your main shut off valve, it is a good idea to try turning the valve on and off. This will help you ensure the valve is working properly, so in the event of a future emergency, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a shut off that won’t shut off! If you find your shut off is in need of repair or replacement, be sure to contact a reliable plumber to help you fix the issue right away.

There are some different types of shut off valves which are common to most homes in BC. Each one is turned off in a slightly different way. The first common shut off valve is known as a gate valve. The gate valve resembles an outdoor hose faucet with a round handle. Sometimes these valves can get stuck after being open for a number of years, so be sure to make sure you are able to still turn your gate valve once you have located it.

The other shut off valve is known as a ball valve. Unlike a gate valve, this shut off doesn’t require a lot of turning. A ball valve can be open and closed by moving the straight handle between positions which are parallel and perpendicular to the pipe. Never attempt to turn a ball valve handle more than a 1/4 turn. If you find there is a slight leak coming from the top of the ball valve once it is closed, you can tighten the nut found at the top of the handle to stop the leak. Do not over-tighten the nut however as this will make the handle difficult to move.


If you encounter any difficulties finding or opening and closing your main shut off valve at home, be sure to call the friendly experts at MidCity Plumbers to assist you today. Having a properly functioning shut off valve in your home is vital when it comes to preventing plumbing issues from turning into costly problems.