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Your Guide to Emergency Shut-off Procedures

January 11, 2013

Observing a few emergency shut-off procedures can be extremely beneficial in the case of a natural disaster or when dealing with a downed power line or broken sewer line that leads to your home. Simply knowing how to shut off the water or power can save you thousands of dollars in home service repairs. Don’t wait until you have a home emergency to try and find your shut-off valves. Learn all you need to know with our emergency shut-off guide! 

Emergency Water Shut-off Procedures

When you have leaks, we suggest you conduct a visual inspection, especially as temperatures drop. It’s important to check your water supply lines by turning water faucets on and off. If the cold water stops running, runs very slowly, or is dirty, you most likely have a leak. If you have a sewer main break or broken pipe from freezing temperatures, you’ll want to shut off your main water supply. You can do so by: 

Turning off the water where it enters the house. In many homes, there’s a valve just below your main outdoor faucet. 

Shutting off the valve attached to your water meter. You can shut down your water supply by turning the valve attached to your water meter. 

Water valves can have two different types of handles: 

Round handles are typically harder to turn, so you may have to give it a few tries. To turn off your water. 

Lever-type handles make a one-quarter turn to shut off your water. 

To turn off your water, turn the handle clockwise. If you don’t have a main water shut off, you should have one installed by a professional plumbing company. 

Power Shut-off Procedures 

In the immediate aftermath of a major disaster when homes lose power, do not turn lights on or off or use matches if you have gas heat–this is crucial! Many home fires are ignited in the aftermath of a storm. Instead, use flashlights to check for gas leaks. If you do hear or smell a leak, shut off your gas valve and immediately open your doors and windows to vent the accumulated gas. Most importantly, get out of  the house. You do not want to be near a gas leak; leave it to the professionals to fix the problem.  Signs of a gas leak include: 

  • A hissing sound 
  • The smell of rotten eggs 
  • White mist or fog around your property 
  • Dead plants in your garden 


It is extremely important to know where your breaker box is located. Sometimes they are located in the basement, sometimes they are on the outside of the home. Wherever your breaker box is, it should be marked, especially the main breaker. Turn off the small breakers first, then the “main” breaker. Never remove the metal cover as this is added protection from sparks and shorts. 

Get peace of mind during an emergency by getting help from the experts at Applewood. On every service call, we will provide visible orange valve tags to identify your shut-off valves. This simple act can save time and chaos in the middle of a disaster, no matter how big or small it is. Contact the professionals at Applewood today for assistance in re-lighting pilot lights, repairing leaks, opening shut-off valves, and more! 

Call  303-328-3060

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