When a pipe bursts, a toilet won't quit running, or a sewer line backs up, the extent of damage the problem causes can be minimized by responding quickly. However, rushing out to the street, prying off the metal cover and trying to turn off the main water line may not be the best option. Roto-Rooter recommends that every individual in the household learns how to operate three different valves that will shut off the supply of running water.
The best advice we can give is to shut off the water closest to the source of the problem. For many emergencies this means shutting off the water right at the device itself. Several different plumbing appliances and fixtures are equipped with their own shut-off valves, such as the toilet and washing machine. Your owner's manuals will give explicit instructions as to where the valves are located and how to operate them. It is a good idea to turn them off and on at least once a year to keep the parts from getting stuck in one position.
Many homes have a main shut-off valve in the basement of the home. You can find it near the area where the water line enters the house from the street. There are two common types of valves that are used to shut-off all water to the house.
Ball valves are growing in popularity and will be found in newer homes and plumbing systems. These valves are easy to operate. The handle is a lever that makes a quarter turn. When the lever is aligned with the pipes, the water is on. When the lever is perpendicular to the pipes, the water is off.
Gate valves are more common in older homes. These valves have a round, knobby handle that twists to them turn on and off. When you twist the handle to the right, you are shutting off the water. When you twist the knob to the left, you are turning on the water. These valves can become difficult to twist over time. Therefore, it is imperative that you turn the water on and off every few months.
When there is an emergency that compromises the structure of your plumbing system, you will want to turn the water off at the main line. Main shut-off valves are located near the edge of the property line. This is the place where the city water connects to your water. The valve is in a box that is deep in the ground and covered by a metal plate. To operate this valve you will need a shut-off key.
For more information, call your local Roto-Rooter today.
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