How to Turn on Water Service

Abaigeal Quinn

The water main to your home runs beneath the street. Most newer-built homes are equipped with a “corporation stop” that is located either near the tap-in at the front of the house, or inside a basement in colder regions. This is often made of brass and does not require turning off the main water supply.

The second place to look is a curb-stop valve near the properly line (sometimes the corporate stop is also near the meter). If the water is turned off at the main, this is the valve that will need to be opened.

  1. Go outside and find your meter box. It's usually beneath a round or rectangular metal and concrete lid near the front of your home, close to the street.

  2. Remove the metal lid using a flat-head screwdriver. If it is concrete, lift the lid using a crowbar.

  3. Find the shut-off valve by checking the side of the meter that is closest to the house for a hand-operated corporation shut-off valve. If it is not visible on the meter itself, check the side of your building. If you live in a cold region subject to freezing temperatures, check the basement. If you find it, skip to Step 6.

  4. Check the street side of the meter for a curb-stop valve if you are unable to find a hand-operated valve. The curb-stop valve will require a key in order to turn it on. These are T-shaped keys, some of them as long as five feet.

  5. Purchase a curb-stop key at a hardware store, or you can usually check one out from your local water department for free.

  6. Turn on an outside faucet before returning water to the home in order to allow air to escape the lines.

  7. Slowly turn the curb-stop valve counterclockwise until it is perpendicular to the pipe. If operating a corporation stop, take it a quarter of a turn counterclockwise so that it is perpendicular to the pipe. Use WD-40 on sticky or rusty valves. Do not force! Call a city plumber if you cannot get it to turn on after applying the lubricant.

  8. Leave the outside faucet running for three to five minutes before turning it off again.

  9. Tip

    Some corporation valves are simple faucet handles; turn counterclockwise to open. Some meter covers have a pentagon bolt on them to keep people from tampering with the meter. It will require a pentagon socket wrench to remove it.


    Always shut off your hot water heater before shutting off your water service to avoid damage to your water heater.

    Be careful of black widows and other dangerous spiders when working near the water meter.