To be prepared for an emergency, you should know the location of your water shutoff valve and how to use it.
Experts say there is more than a 60 percent chance that a major earthquake will occur in the Bay Area within the next 30 years. After such an event, your water supply might be unavailable for 72 hours or more.
During an earthquake, water tanks and appliances connected to your home’s plumbing can shift and cause a leak, leading to flooding or additional damage. You can prepare for an emergency by knowing in advance where your home’s main water supply is and how to shut it off.
Water Shutoff Valves Vary From Home to Home
- In some homes, the water supply comes from a cylindrical tank, which may be found in the garage, the basement, or a closet. The shutoff valve is sometimes painted red. To place the valve in the off position, move it down. If your home has an older-style gate valve, turn the wheel or handle on the valve clockwise until it stops.
- In other homes, the water’s main shutoff is found outside. Depending on the home, the shutoff valve may be located high up or far below the water main (or the local water company's delivery pipe). It is attached to your local company’s delivery pipe, and it is typically the largest valve coming out of the wall.
- Most main shut-off valves are located on the exterior of the home or just inside the property in line with the water meter on the sidewalk. It is usually a circular shaped gate valve designed to shut off and turn on slowly, or can be a ball valve with a blue handle that turns off at a 90 degree angle to the supply pipe. To request a courtesy site visit from an SFPUC representative to help locate the property’s main water supply’s shut off valve on your property, contact Customer Services at 415-551-3000.
- This Leak Guide provides information about all types of leaks and how to address them.
- Log into MyAccount to learn more about your property’s water use. Remember, you can schedule a free water-wise evaluation to help you learn more about your water use and identify leaks on your property.
- To prevent personal injury and damage to our equipment, water meters should only be accessed by our field staff. To request a courtesy site visit from an SFPUC representative, contact Customer Services at 415-551-3000. This site visit will include a check of your water meter, as well as additional information about how the meter registers and transmits water usage information.