Main Water Valve

Thawing Pipes

Freezing weather often means frozen water pipes. And as the temperatures begin to rise, those line breaks reveal themselves as ice turns to water and spews from broken lines both inside and outside homes and businesses. Act now to conserve water and prepare.

How to Determine if you have a Leak

If your faucet is not running or toilet is not refilling, there's a good chance your pipes are frozen. The water meter should also be able to tell you if you have a plumbing leak somewhere in your home.  Be sure to turn off all water sources in you home. If no water is being used and the meter is moving, you have a leak. The best advice is to turn off the water at the main water valve to your home if you suspect a frozen water line.  That means you have to know where your water valve is and how to turn it off quickly should a pipe burst. You can also use a heat source (hair drier if you have electricity) to thaw frozen pipes near the water source (underneath the sinks) . Remember if your pipes bust and you call a plumber, road conditions and a rush on parts could affect response time.

Note: The city is unable to repair water and wastewater lines on private property.  Residents will need to contact a plumber for those repairs. 

How to Turn Your Water Off

Where is the Main Water Shut-Off Valve Located?

To find your water main valve, near your curb you should see a covered box labeled WATER.  You can lever the top off with a screwdriver or a special “meter key” (available at local hardware stores, like Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and Home Depot). Be very careful removing the lid as it is attached by a wire to the reading device and it is very costly to repair that connection if you break it.  Go slowly.

Water Box

Water Key

Once you fit the meter key into the “lock,” turn it counter-clockwise, and then tilt the key toward the outer edge of the box to lift the lid open. Be careful when opening the box. Sometimes snakes, black widow and other spiders, small critters, reptiles, bugs, and other surprises are waiting for you.  And, don’t forget to be careful to not break the wire connection from meter to lid.

Once you have located, opened, and cleared away any dirt or debris, it will probably look something like this:

How to shut water meter valve

How to Turn Off Main Water Valve

Once you find the shutoff valve you will either hand turn it (clockwise for gate valves and perpendicular to the pipe for ball valves) or use the appropriate tool depending on the design.  If the ball valve is parallel, it is ON; if it is perpendicular (90° angle), it is OFF. 

WARNING: old water valves can be damaged and corroded. Only use your hand to turn your water valves on or off. If you cannot do it by hand, call a professional plumber.

The water meter should also be able to tell you if you have a plumbing leak somewhere in your home.  If no water is being used in your home and the meter is moving, you have a leak. 

WARNING: do NOT tamper with the city shut-off side or the meter itself. It is illegal to tamper with, obstruct access to, or remove a water meter. Be very careful, and if you have any doubts at all, call your local plumber or utility company.

Unable to Locate your Valve?

If you are still unable to locate your valve, your trusted local plumber or utility company Grand Prairie Water Department at 972-237-8400 should be able to tell you where it is. Also, if you still have your property inspection report, you should be able to find the area of the document that shows you where your main water shutoff valve is located.


Report a Water Leak

Report a Water Leak or Sewer Blockage online during normal business hours. For emergencies or after hours, call the 24-hour emergency line at 972-237-8400.

Crews can pull and defrost your outside water meter, but cannot defrost your interior/exterior water or sewer lines. There are hundreds of burst pipes across the city. In the extreme temperatures, no facility is safe from frozen pipes breaking. Water Utilities is working hard to respond to calls for service but are experiencing an increase call volume.