Older valves may require some muscle-power to close. There is a tool you can buy at the big home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot (see photo at right), that has a tall T-shaped handle and tip that fits around the raised slot, to give you extra leverage for a stubborn valve.

   Then again, sometimes it gets more complicated, because soil migrates into the meter box over time. When you open the cover you may find nothing but dirt, because the meter dial and shut-off valve have become buried under a layer of soil. So dig away the dirt to locate the raised slot.

   Condominiums often have a water shut-off valve located somewhere around the wall behind the water heater. In the photo below, at a water heater in a condo, the right (white) valve shuts off all the water to the unit and the left (red) valve shuts off only the water supply to the water heater.

    Also, some homes have a separate valve, often buried inside a 6-inch diameter vertical plastic pipe that protrudes from the ground a few inches near front of the home and often directly below a hose faucet, that can be used to shut off the water. If it hasn’t been used for a while, you may have to reach in and pull out a layer of leaves and debris to reach the valve.

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.


More Blog Posts on Safety Subjects:

  1. So the water heater is older...what’s the big deal?

  2. Should I upgrade to a tankless water heater?

  3. How old is that water heater?

  4. Are house numbers required by law in front of a house?

  5. What’s the powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?

  6. Do you check the plumbing under the floor slab?

  7. Do I have to get a larger septic tank when I build a home addition?

  8. How much does it cost to replace the plumbing pipe in a house?

  9. What is well pump “short cycling”?

  10. Are there water lines in my attic or under the floor slab?

  11. This home has galvanized water pipe. Is that a problem?

  12. How come the water has a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?

  13. Do you check for recalls on home appliances as part of the inspection?

  14. Do you test the well water?

  15. What are the pipes on my roof?

  16. How can I determine the age of a water heater if the serial number is missing or decoding it is impossible?

  17. What is a grinder pump?

  18. What is that little tank on top of the water heater for?

  19. What is a dielectric union?

  20. What is a heat pump water heater?

  21. Why can’t PVC pipe be used for water pipe inside a house?

  22. What is an auto vent, air admittance valve, or check vent?

  23. What is an escutcheon plate?

  24. Why is sunlight exposure bad for PVC pipe?

  25. What is the loose wire sticking out of the ground under the gas meter for?

  26. What are the right words for talking about a house plumbing system?

  27. Should I seal the washing machine drain hose to the standpipe?

  28. How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank or sewer?

  29. What is a sediment trap or dirt leg?

  30. My spa tub stopped working. What’s wrong?

How to Look

at a House

A blog with answers
to your questions about

Search This Blog

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

Click Below to Link
to Collections of
Blog Posts by Subject

Search This Blog