The Different Ways To Turn Off Water Main Service Lines Explained

Opinion & Expertise
February 12, 2019

by David Balkan

turn off water main

Most people understand how to turn off their main control valve for their water service line. It is usually easily accessible, and located inside their basement. But even that can get tricky, so here is a useful tutorial for that: How To Close Your Main Water Supply Valve. This particular article is intended to help property owners understand the difference ways to turn off water main service lines from outside their property. It will also explain the importance of understanding their desired purpose in doing so.

Each different way to shut a water service line supplying a property has different consequences. They each also have an entirely different cost structure. Therefore, if you are a property owner looking to close off your main water service line, this article is geared for you.

turn off water main

There are many misunderstandings you may have about shutting your water service line off. One common misunderstanding you may have is thinking that simply closing an outside valve will stop you from getting billed for water usage; this is not true. Read below to fully understand your options, and which scope of work best fits your need best.

3 Primary reasons to turn off water main lines to a property

Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service routinely gets requests to turn off water main lines for a property. While you, as a client, may know what you want done, you may not realize that you have to understand why you want it done. There are 3 primary reasons to want to turn off the water service line entering your property. Each of the 3 reasons has a particular advisable way to do it, and with vastly different end results.

1. Turn off water main service line because house is not occupied

A house may be unoccupied for a number of reasons. It can range from being a seasonal residence, to being under renovation, to being empty for a prolonged period of time. The key is that is will at some point be occupied in the future. Therefore, when your water service line is shut, it is with the intention to re-open it at some point. That said, the connection should not closed permanently, or plugged.  The easiest and least costly way to close a water service line is if you have a working curb stop valve (also known as a curb valve). Only a professional water main contractor should be trusted to handle a curb valve properly. If mishandled, it can break, and lead to expensive repairs and an interruption in your water service.

If there is no curb stop valve, the roadway will have to be opened. This requires permits from the DEP and the DOT. After these permits are secured, the tap connection on the city main is closed. Obviously, this is the most costly way to temporarily close your water supply line. It also requires the same permits and procedure to re-open it at a later date.

2. Shut off your water main line to stop getting billed from the City

If your intent is to stop getting billed from the city for water usage, you would need to actually plug the tap connection for your water service in the roadway. What many homeowners do not realize is that this procedure is irreversible. Once a tap connection is plugged, it cannot be re-opened. This type of work not only requires permits, it requires an on-site DEP inspection. What you, as a homeowner likewise may not understand, is that this procedure will still leave you getting a bill for usage of the public sewer system.

turn off water main
Once a tap connection is plugged, it cannot be re-used

3. Turning off your water main due to the building being demolished

The last of the 3 primary reasons to shut your water service line is because you, or a contractor, is planning on demolishing the building. If this is your case, the sewer and all other utilities will all have to be permanently disconnected. This requires permitting, filing fees, and an inspection process. If you plan on re-building on the lot, all new services will have to be field for, and then installed. Again, once services are plugged, they cannot be re-opened.

Some advise before turning off your water supply line

Not every plumber or water main contractor will take the time to explain the differences in closing off your water supply line. To a large extent you have to understand your desired end result, and purpose for the work. If you mistakenly engage a plumber to plug your water tap connection, it is an irreversible procedure. It may even require approved paperwork if you wait to long before discovering the error.

Never take a plumbing “procedure” for granted. Ask a lot of questions, and be patient in giving a professional a chance to clearly explain the job. This is good advice whether shutting water off to your property, or any job requiring a licensed professional. As always, and for over 65 years, the Balkan Team is available to you for expert advice and service, 7 days a week, and after-hours as well. Contact Team Balkan for a prompt response, no matter the day or time of day.


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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

Dave Balkan

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