Water Main

Can an inspector turn on/off water main at the meter for a particular reason?

Mark Volpe

The question shouldn’t be-can the inspector turn on valves but should the inspector turn on valves.

Ask yourself if you want the responsibility that goes along with it?

If you want the liability sure, i wouldn’t

Don’t do it.

ok, thanks all. I didn’t expect responses like this. Obviously, things can go wrong then. I know this. Then again things can go wrong with the operation of anything that you touch.

I asked this question of a city water utilities service honcho and FYI, aside from liability that we are talking about, her answer was…

“Technically City personnel are the only people who should be connecting or disconnecting service; however there are certain instances when a plumber or home inspector can do that to verify potential leaks or confirm appropriate plumbing connections. We simply ask that they leave the water in the position they found it in be it on or off. If you have further questions let me know.”

However, I agree with my peers on this thread.


I carry a key in my car just in case there is a catastrophic failure in the home during the inspection. It’s never happened, but if it does, I want to be able to get the water off if necessary. I would never turn the water on at the street.

Depending upon the circumstances I might turn on the main valve coming into the home. More often I use a contract that Nick provided us to get the owners permission (and waiver of liability) to turn on the utilities inside the home. I’ve used this several times with great success.

That waiver Mark is speaking of is buried somewhere in www.nachi.org/documents.htm