3 Common Problems With Water Main Shut Off Valves
Every home has a water main shut off valve that brings fresh water into your home. If you don’t know where it is, it’s important to find it before an emergency happens. It’s also important to educate everyone in your home where it is, in case you’re not home.
The water main shut off valve is usually located either in the basement, on an exterior wall, or in an underground box outside of your home. While individual fixtures like your toilet and your water heater also have their own separate shut off valve, your water main shut off valve controls your entire home. And if you walk into flooding in your basement, it’s important to go right to the source and stop the water from flowing.
Occasionally, these shut off valves can have problems. These are three of the reasons plumbers are called in for repair.
Like any fixture in your home, shut off valves have a limited lifespan. Turning it on and off again can also start drips into action. Because your shut off valves aren’t always in a convenient place, “out of sight, out of mind” is often the road taken. But it is important to view these areas on occasion and ensure a puddle of water isn’t forming. If it is slowly dripping, you can tighten the valve and see if it stops. Be aware that if the main valve is dripping, you’ll need to fix or replace the street side valve as well.
How old is your home? In some cases, older homes have old plumbing fixtures that simply wear out. Saddle valves are T-handled devices that are especially prone to leaks. If you have this type of device in place, it’s better to replace it now before problems set in.
People often shut off the water supply to their home when they go on vacation. But that doesn’t stop water from accumulating in the pipes between the spigot and the shut off valve. This water can still freeze if the temperatures dip low, and the pipe can burst when it thaws. You might not notice until you turn the system back on, and then it turns into a mess. Watch for any pooling water in the general vicinity before you adjust. Check back frequently to ensure a problem doesn’t exist.
Water is the one thing in your home you should never ignore. If you have a problem with your water main shut off valve, repair it now before the problem escalates.