24/7 Emergency Service

Yellow handle on main water valve shut-off

Got a Burst Pipe? Turn Off Your Main Water Valve in Two Steps

If you have a frozen pipe that has burst, call Lorenz Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning right away at 417-863-1122.

You also need to shut off your main water valve as quickly as possible. This is one of the most important steps to take when a frozen pipe bursts in your home.

Sometimes pipes burst when cold weather hits because water expands when it freezes, exerting intense pressure on the inside of your pipes. In some cases, the internal pressure may reach up to 40,000 pounds per square inch. This often causes the pipe to crack or burst, leaking water inside your home.

The sooner you can shut off the main water valve to your home, the less damage you’ll have. There are two basic things you need to know to act fast:

  1. How to locate your main shut-off valve
  2. How to turn off your main shut-off valve 

Step 1: Find Your Main Water Valve

There are three places to check in order to find where your main shut-off is located.

#1: The Inside Perimeter of Your Home

In most homes the main shut-off valve will be located near a perimeter wall closest to the side of the house facing the street. Good places to check include the garage, basement or crawl space, or close to your hot water heater. 

#2: Your Property Inspection Report

Check the inspection report you received when you first purchased your home. It will have a plumbing section that includes the location of your main shut-off valve. Some reports may include a photo or diagram. 

#3: Your Street-Side Shut-Off Valve

If you’re still having trouble finding the main valve inside your home, look for the curb or street-side valve. It will be located outside under a utility box trap door at ground level near the curb. 

Call your water company’s emergency phone number for help. They will either tell you how to shut off the valve over the phone or dispatch a professional plumber to assist you. Never attempt to shut off the street-side valve on your own. 

Step 2: Turn Off Your Main Water Valve

Once you find your shut-off valve, notice whether the handle is shaped like a knife or if it’s round like a hose faucet. This will determine the proper way to turn it off and on. 

If You Have a Knife or Ball Valve

A knife valve, sometimes called a ball valve, is a straight handle that runs parallel to the pipe when open. To turn it off, simply move the handle a quarter turn so that it’s perpendicular to the pipe. The handle will only move in the direction required to open it, and it won’t move any farther than needed.

If You Have a Round or Gate Valve

A round handle, or gate valve, looks similar to a hose faucet as already mentioned. Turn it in a clockwise direction to shut off the water. You’ll turn it counter-clockwise to turn the water back on after repairs are complete. 

As with any emergency, knowing what to do is the key to dealing with a frozen pipe that has burst. For prompt service, call your friends at Lorenz at 417-863-1122.