Whether you have a gas leak or are repairing/installing a gas appliance, the gas supply needs to be shut off. Depending on the type, locating and using a gas shutoff valve can be intimidating to the inexperienced. Although there are different types of supply valves, it’s essential to know how to locate and shut off your gas in case of emergencies. Whether it’s an emergency or you simply need to show the line to a licensed plumber, the ability to locate a gas shutoff valve is essential.
Finding Your Gas Shutoff Valve
House-side valves, also called branch valves, are often attached to black iron gas pipes. These are usually high-pressure copper pipes in newer homes. Branch valves may be near an appliance or transition in piping. If the valve serves a high-pressure system, it is likely near a furnace or water heater.
Street-side gas valves are located outside your home. Look near the gas meter for a device with a rectangular handle. Gas companies and even fire departments recommend allowing only a professional to use these valves, as incorrect adjustments can result in leaks and other problems that can put your safety at risk. The gas company usually owns the street-side valve and gas meter.
Local shutoff valves have lever-type handles that can be turned by hand. Serving individual appliances, local valves usually have flexible corrugated gas supply tubing attached to them.
Possible Gas Valve Locations
Gas meters and shutoff valves may be located on the side or in front of a building, in a breezeway, or in a cabinet enclosure built into an outside wall or installed inside the structure. For buildings with multiple units, look near the gas meters. You’ll likely find a master valve for the whole building, where the main gas pipe comes from the ground, and gas service shutoff valves for each unit.
How to Turn Off the Gas
If you have permission to use the gas shutoff valve, learn how to do so from an instruction manual or the landlord or building manager first. A street-side valve includes square handles. These require a heavy-duty wrench to open and close. Use a 12-to-15-inch wrench, preferably an adjustable or crescent-type tool.
A house-side valve usually has a black or yellow handle on the top or side of the connected pipe. When the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, the valve is closed. When it is parallel to it, the gas valve is open. The same is true for local shut-off valves.
Don’t Turn Off the Gas Yourself If There’s a Leak
Smelling gas in your home is a serious situation. Leave your home immediately as attempting to turn off the gas supply can lead to an explosion or cause asphyxiation and other problems. There could potentially be damage to the gas supply valve or pipes. Once out of your home go to a neighbor call the gas company and fire department. Do not attempt to call anyone on your cell phone while in the house; a static charge can ignite the gas.
If You Turn Off the Gas, Don’t Turn It Back On
Never turn the main supply back on if you’ve turned it off. There are many safety concerns that your gas company must address. They’ll make sure the valve is working properly and whether there are leaks or appliance issues.
Contact Express Plumbing Service
If you have a gas line or any other plumbing issue in the Boise area, we can help. Our Express Plumbing uses the latest equipment and technology to resolve problems, regardless of scope or size. We are available 24/7. To request emergency service, call.