Water Shut-Off Valves

Water Shut-Off Valves

Here is a little-known tip that can save you money.

You know that little valve under your sink that turns water off to the fixture? You need to use it.

In other words, simply turn it off and then turn it back on at least once a month. You see, if those valves are not used periodically, they will fail.

The majority of shut-off valves under sinks are full-turn valves (meaning you turn the handle in complete circles; known in the plumbing industry as gate valves).  Gate valves are notorious for failing because the rubber stopper inside becomes brittle.  When it does, the valve cannot function properly.  In order to keep it healthy, just use it occasionally and that will keep the rubber stopper pliable and give the valve a longer life.

You may, however, have quarter-turn valves (meaning you only have to turn the handle 90°; also known as ball valves ). You do not need to use these in the same manner because they contain no rubber for sealing.  Incidentally, ball valves are the best kind to have.

A word of warning:  if you’ve never used your full-turn valve as recommended and go do it right now, you might develop a leak. That will be because the rubber has already become brittle from lack of use over a long period of time. Simply turn it back on, which will stop the leak, and then have the valve replaced as soon as possible so that it will serve its intended purpose. Consider replacing it with a ball valve.

In addition, it is a good idea to have your valves replaced if they are older than ten years.

Posted December 11, 2011 by chris in Plumbing