We’d wager that the average homeowner doesn’t sit around and think about the type of gas line they have and where to find the gas shut-off valve in their home. In a properly functioning home, you can usually let your gas shut-off valve stay out of sight and out of mind until you need to address an issue.
And when an issue arises or you want to perform work on an appliance, you don’t want to be scrambling trying to track down your gas shut-off valve. So that’s why we’re here to help!
There are two main types of gas shut-off valves:
- Main (control gas supply to the entire house), and
- Individual (valves for specific appliances)
Gas valves vary greatly in shape and location depending on your location, local codes, and the age of your home. But, depending on the type of valve you have, you can usually find it in these five common places.
What to Know Before Locating Gas Valves + Helpful Tips
- Gas leaks are serious. Never tamper with gas valves unnecessarily.
- To save time and frustration in the future, take a day to go around your house and locate all the gas shut-off valves and label them with tags.
- In the case of a gas leak, you can turn off the valve if you clearly know the source of the leak and that the gas hasn’t been leaking for long. Promptly evacuate your home after turning off the gas.
- If you’re not sure where the source of the gas leak is or how long it has been leaking, clear everyone out of your home right away and call the gas company or fire department from across the street or at a neighbor’s house.
- In the event of a major gas leak, the slightest spark (from a light switch, phone, or static on your clothes) can cause an explosion in the case of a gas leak emergency. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry and evacuate your home immediately rather than trying to turn off the gas valves yourself.
1) Street-Side Gas Shut-Off Valve: Just Before the Gas Meter
Homes with natural gas have a main shut-off valve typically called the “street-side valve.” It is located just before the gas meter and looks like a rectangular nub. For single-family houses, the gas meter is typically located outside of the house on the side or in the back. They are usually only located indoors in businesses or multi-family residences.
When the long side of the rectangular nub is parallel to the incoming gas line, the line is open and gas is flowing.
How to Turn Off a Street-Side Valve
When the rectangular nub is turned a quarter turn to be perpendicular to the incoming gas line, that’s how you know it’s closed. This valve must be opened and closed with a wrench. Gas companies prefer professional plumbing contractors to handle the opening and closing of the main street-side shut-off valve.
2) House-Side Gas Valve: Before the First Appliance
Another main gas shut-off valve is the “house-side valve.” This valve is typically a ball valve and might be located where the gas pipe first enters the house. Even if it’s located further down the line, it will always be located before the first appliance that connects to the gas line.
You can differentiate gas pipes from water pipes by noting that iron pipes transporting gas are often black, while water pipes can be gray galvanized steel.
- Keep in mind: If your home is older, there’s a chance it doesn’t have a house-side main shut-off valve.
Turn Off a House-Side Valve
You don’t usually need professional help to turn off a house-side ball valve. There will likely be a lever connected to the valve. If the lever is parallel with the pipe, that means the pipe is open. To close it, turn the lever 90 degrees so that it forms a right angle to the pipe.
3) High-Pressure Gas System: Near Furnace or Water Heater
Newer homes often have flexible copper pipes running from the gas meter into the utility room. This visual clue indicates the presence of a higher pressure gas system.
If your home has a high-pressure gas system, your indoor main shut-off valve is likely located near your water heater or furnace in the utility room.
Do you see a flying saucer-shaped mechanism on the copper pipes? This is called the “regulator,” and the main shut-off valve is probably located right above it.
Turn Off a High-Pressure Gas System
You’ll sense a theme going forward— when valve levers are parallel to the gas pipe, that means the pipe is open and gas is flowing through. To turn off the gas supply, turn the lever perpendicularly. On the copper pipes of a high-pressure gas system, the levers are smaller than others you might see.
4) Individual Gas Valves: Within 6 Feet of the Appliance
Now, let’s move on from main gas shut-off valves to individual valves. Every gas-reliant appliance in your home should have an individual shut-off valve that is in the same room as the appliance. Typically, the individual shut-off valve is no further than 6 feet away from the appliance.
On dryers and ranges, the valve is usually hidden behind the appliance. You can reach it by sliding the appliance away from the wall.
These valves allow you to stop the flow of gas to the following appliances without shutting off the gas for the entire home:
- Water heaters
- Gas fireplaces
Just like most other valves, turn individual gas valves perpendicular to the gas pipe to shut off the supply.
5) Propane or Liquefied Petroleum Gas: On the Tank Itself
For homes with propane or liquefied petroleum gas, the main shut-off valve is located on the tank itself. Additionally, there’s a main shut-off valve located before the first appliance connection.
If your gas valve was manufactured before 1980, it could contain a lubricant that was meant to help operate the valve more smoothly. However, this lubricant can harden over time making it difficult to turn. You can use pliers to free up the stuck handle and apply a gentle flow of heat with a hairdryer to loosen the valve.
Trust AJ Alberts Plumbing for Gas Line Repair
Gas leaks are serious, and you need to rely on a professional when you need to repair or replace your gas line. We provide top-quality gas line services to keep you and your family safe. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!