Does Your Water Shutoff Shut Off?

Don't wait for a disaster to find out

Your main shutoff valve is one of the most important disaster stoppers in your home. When a pipe leaks or bursts, this valve lets you shut off water flow to your entire home; but there's a good chance your main valve will fail when you need it. So take a few minutes now to make sure you can close it.

Ball valves rarely fail, and testing is easy. But if you have a gate valve, you might need a little patience and know-how. Turn the handle clockwise to close it. If you can't turn the handle, loosen the packing nut just a little (Photo 1). A shot of lubricant or penetrating oil may also help. Then try again. Don't worry about cranking too hard. There's a small chance that you'll damage the valve, but a valve that won't close is useless anyway and needs to be replaced. For help with that project, search for "main valve" http://www.familyhandyman.com.

(Photo 1)
CLOSE A STUBBORN GATE VALVE
If the handle won't turn, loosen the packing nut. But be sure to hold the handle in position while you turn the nut. If the handle turns as you unscrew the nut, you risk breaking the valve.
Reopening a stubborn gate valve is more risky than closing it. You're more likely to break internal parts and could end up without running water. If the valve is stuck closed, tap it with a hammer

Reopening a stubborn gate valve is more risky than closing it. You're more likely to break internal parts and could end up without running water. If the valve is stuck closed, tap it with a hammer (Photo 2). When the valve opens a little, stop for a few minutes. That allows water pressure on both sides of the valve to equalize, instead of pressing against one side and locking the valve in place.

(Photo 2). When the valve opens a little, stop for a few minutes. That allows water pressure on both sides of the valve to equalize, instead of pressing against one side and locking the valve in place.

Emergency shutoff tips
• If a toilet or faucet is leaking, try the shutoff valves below them first. If they won't close, head for the main valve.
• If you're able to close your main valve most of the way but it's still allowing a trickle of water through, simply open the lowest faucet in your house. Water will trickle out of that faucet, but it won't flow to the higher pipes in the house.
• If your home has a water meter, you have two valves-one on each side of the meter. If one won't close, try the other. Closing either of them will stop the flow.
• If you have a water leak, you can stop the flow by turning off the valve at the water heater.
Source: http://www.familyhandyman.com
If you have a question, comment, or home tip, send it to us at rod@cbiga.com. We reserve the right to edit published questions for length.
■ Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.

Source: http://www.familyhandyman.com


If you have a question, comment, or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can email your questions to us at rod@cbiga.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.


Quote of the Month
The past is behind – learn from it.
The future is ahead – prepare for it.
The present is here –live it.
Thomas S. Monson

Tip Of The Hat To:
 
Barbara & Ausker Morris
AT Morris Realty Group, Inc.
3162 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 260-25
Marietta, Georgia 30062
770-552-5922
 

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