If you’ve recently noticed you have a leaking or corroded emergency shut-off valve in your home, it’s wise to have it inspected or replaced immediately. Ignoring a faulty shut-off valve can result in great damage to your home and property if it fails.
Emergency shut-off valves are an important part of your plumbing system. They control the flow of water to the house and its various fixtures and appliances, making it possible to shut off running water to a particular part of the house (or to the entire house) for service, repairs or in the event of a plumbing emergency.
Every fixture and appliance in your home should have an emergency shut-off valve nearby. They can be found beneath kitchen and bathroom faucets, near water heaters, washing machines & ice makers and are usually installed somewhere between the meter box and your home. If there’s no shutoff valve in any of these areas, you should have a plumber inspect your system and install shut-off valves as needed.
Kinds of Emergency Shut Off Valves
There are a number of different types of valves, each with its own application. It’s important that the right valve is used in the right areas, and that every valve in your home is in good working condition. Below are some of the most common types of shut-off valves and where to find them in your home.
Main service shut off: Every home should have an accessible shut-off valve to completely stop the flow of water going into the building. They’re usually found inside the meter box, but there may also be one in the garage or somewhere on the side of the house or property. It’s recommended that your main shut-off valve is a high-quality, quarter-turn ball valve. If your main shut-off is an older valve or a gate valve, it should be replaced with a new ball valve. Gate valves control water flow with a handwheel that lifts and lowers a sliding gate. They’re prone to leaks and overall failure when aged.
Water heater shut off: Every water heater should have an easy-to-reach ball valve to stop the flow of water in and out of the unit for service or replacement. The valve should be installed near the water inlet (on the cold side) of the water heater. If your water heater’s shut-off valve is corroded, difficult to reach or hard to turn on and off, it should be replaced as soon as possible or relocated if necessary.
Faucet and toilet shut-offs: Every faucet and toilet in the house should have a functioning emergency shut-off valve. Standard faucets require two valves – one for hot water and one for cold water. It’s recommended that a quarter-turn ball valve is used with every toilet and faucet (also called angle stops). If any of your fixtures have older gate-style valves, leaking or corroded valves, or valves with hard-to-turn handles, they should be replaced as soon as possible.
Washing Machine and icemaker shut-offs: Like any other appliance that uses running water, washing machines and ice makers should have properly working shut-off valves. Valves for these appliances are specially made to work with washing machine hoses and smaller water supply lines. Again, any older, damaged or gate-style valves should be replaced with quarter-turn ball valves.
All shut-off valves inside and outside your home should be properly working, easy to reach and operate, and should be inspected routinely for leaks, damage and signs of mineral buildup or corrosion. Being mindful of where all your home’s shut-off valves are located, their age and general condition is the best way to avoid leaks, floods and other plumbing emergencies.
If you have questions about shut-off valves in San Diego or to schedule a plumber in the North County area, call Town & Country Plumbing Repair at (760) 744-8672. We offer free estimates and a quality guarantee with all our work.