How to Avoid Costly Plumbing Repairs with Shutoff Valves

Can you imagine the damage that ruptured water hoses, frozen pipes, dripping water heaters, and leaking supply lines can do? Are you aware that water damages from these plumbing problems run up to billions of dollars every year? Do you want to be part of this statistics? If not, read on and find out how shutoff valves can save you from costly plumbing repairs.

Main Valves

The main shutoff valve is responsible for controlling all the water supply that passes through your entire home plumbing system. This means that it is your best protection against being victimized by costly water damages. In fact, it would be negligence on your part if you do not have a main water shutoff valve installed.

The usefulness of the main shutoff valve can be highlighted during plumbing emergencies and when you are going on an extended vacation. Simply turning the shutoff valve off will ensure that even if you are saved from ruptured pipes and similar water damage causing problems because there will be no water flowing through your pipes.

The main shutoff valve should be located near your water meter. In many homes, there is a shutoff valve on the street side and another one on the house side. For homes located in colder climates, the main water shutoff valve maybe installed near the basement just in front of the house. Homes in warmer climates can have the shutoff valve installed to an exterior wall on an underground box protected by a removable lid.

Types of Main Valves

Currently, there are two types of main water shutoff valves:

  1. Gate Valve – this is commonly found in older homes and can be identified by its round handle that needs to be turned a number of times to either open or close the valve. This type of valve is designed to be fully open or closed, there is no halfway point. When partially open, this valve may wear away the metal that will cause it to fail in a matter of time.
  2. Ball Valve –this type of valve makes use of a lever handle that can be turned 90 degrees to open or close the water supply line. This makes it easier to check if the valve is open or closed. When left in the closed position, the lever should be perpendicular to the pipes and parallel when in the open position.

It is important to remember that none of these types of main valves are designed to last forever. So, if you have never turned the main shutoff valve before, make sure that you periodically test it before you go on an extended leave. How do you do this?

Open a faucet anywhere in your home and turn off the main shutoff valve. The water flow should eventually stop after a short while. If it does not, then there is a possibility that the shutoff valve is broken. You need to have it replaced immediately for your protection.

If the valve is stuck, do not attempt to move it because it might break and cause more problems. The best way to deal with a stuck water shutoff valve is to call on a licensed plumbing professional to have it replaced.

Individual Valves

Individual shutoff valves should likewise be installed in all water-using appliances in your home aside from plumbing fixtures. This means that dishwashers, icemakers, and washing machines should have their own shutoff valves just like your faucets and toilets have. Why is this important?

Individual shutoff valves serve as another level of protection for you in case of plumbing emergencies. These cutoff the water supply to a specific water-using appliance or plumbing fixture. This allows you to have water supply in other parts of your home except for those with plumbing problems. This prevents your home from being totally cutoff from the water supply.

You can use any type of shutoff valve as long as you make sure that they are properly installed and checked regularly as well.

To make sure that your shutoff valves protect you from costly plumbing repairs, have a licensed plumbing contractor do the installation. Call Scott English Plumbing to help you with your shutoff valve or any other plumbing problems.