It is important as a homeowner to know where your all the shut off valves for your home are located and how to operate them.
For your water supply lines it is important to locate your main shut off valve. Simply turn your shut off valve till it is perpendicular to the pipe. This will stop the flow of water to the entire house. You should be familiar with the individual shut off valves in your home as well. They are known as isolating valves and they are at your washing machine, sinks and toilets. You will want to know how to shut off these valves in case of a leak or if water starts shooting out of a pipe. The sooner you stop the water the less damage may occur. Exterior faucets may also have isolating valves but because of their exterior nature these valves may not be located by the valve itself. Instead they can be located near an interior sink or by the main shut off valve.
You should also know the location of your gas shut off valve. However if you notice a gas leak you should leave your house immediately and call your utility company. In many homes the shut off valve for your gas is located at the meter. A wrench is needed to turn the gas off and on. Some homes have a second gas shut off valve that is similar to water shut off valve. Isolated gas shut off valves have a lever that rotates ninety degrees. When the lever is in line with the pipe the gas is flowing. When it is perpendicular to the pipe the gas is shut off. There may also be smaller levers that will feed to individual appliances in your home.
Some of your appliances may also have shut off valves at the units themselves. If you shut off the gas supply on appliances keep in mind that the pilot light will go out. This includes furnaces, gas fireplaces and hot water heaters. Once you turn the gas back on you will need to relight the pilot light on each appliance.