Shutting off utilities such as your home's water supply or electrical power is fairly common—something you do whenever making a repair or upgrade. Shutting off your natural gas supply is not something that occurs very often, but there are still times you may need to shut off the gas supply in your home. Knowing how to do this is important, because when it's necessary, it may need to be done in a hurry
Reasons for Shutting Off the Gas
The main shutoff valve controlling you home's natural gas supply may come into play during major construction or renovation involving gas lines, when closing up or shuttering a home, to prevent possible flood damage. Or, in rare instances, you may need to shut off the gas valve when a gas leak is suspected inside 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. To be a "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.
Location of the Main Shutoff Valve
The main gas shutoff valve is located next to the natural gas meter supplied by your utility company. Your gas meter may be located outside your home on an exterior wall, or it may be found inside your home on an outside wall—often in a basement or utility area, such as a garage or the mechanical room where the furnace or water heater are located.
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, Use a clamping pliers, an adjustable wrench, or an open-end wrench, and turn the valve 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.
NOTE: 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 valve handle are lined up, it indicates the valve is in the OFF position.
- 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 you known that the shutoff valve is fully closed.