Shutting off Utilities: When You May Need to Shut Off the Gas Valve
Shutting off utilities such as your home's water supply or electrical power is fairly common. But shutting off your gas supply is not something that occurs very often. However, there are still times you may need to shut off the natural gas supply in your home; and when you do, you need to know how to do it before it is necessary, since shutting off a gas valve is not the kind of thing you "Google" when an emergency strikes.
The natural gas valve may need to be shut off for reasons including major construction involving the gas line, closing up or shuttering a home, preventing possible flood damage or in some limited cases, you may need to shut off the gas valve when a gas leak is suspected inside the home and the shutoff valve is located outside the home.
Once the valve is turned off however, do not turn it back on by yourself. It must be turned on by a qualified person such as a gas company service technician or a licensed plumber. If you are qualified person you must be able to confirm proper operation of all pilot lights and gas appliances once the gas valve is turned back on.
Where to Find the Main Gas Valve
The main gas shutoff valve is located next the natural gas meter supplied by your utility company. Your gas meter may be located inside your home on an outside wall (in the basement if you have one) or outside your home.
How to Shut Off the Main Gas Valve
The main gas shut off valve is a large valve located next to the natural gas meter. If the valve handle is parallel to the gas pipe then the gas supply valve is open and the gas is on. To close the valve, proceed as follows:
- Use a clamping plier like Vice-Grip®, an adjustable wrench or an open end wrench, and turn the handle 90 degrees so it is fully perpendicular to the gas line. It is a good idea to keep a wrench handy for this purpose and keep it located next to the shutoff valve.
- Many natural gas meter valves provided by a utility company have a hole in the handle that will line up with a corresponding hole in the valve body when the gas valve is in the closed position. The utility company will use the hole to lock and / or seal the valve in a closed position when the gas account is closed. When the holes in the handle are lined up the gas supply has been shut off by the valve.
- To ensure sure the gas shutoff valve is in fact fully closed, note the dial numbers on the meter face and write them down. Then check back in about 10 minutes. If the numbers have not changed then the shutoff valve is fully closed.