You've noticed them but you probably don't pay them much attention. I'm talking about those chrome water shut-off valves under your sinks and behind your toilet. Here's a tip: Exercise them! Ask a plumber Boston or wherever you live. He will tell you that a simple twist back and forth a few times a year will keep them working properly. Remember "rightie tighty, lefty loosey."
When you have plumbing problems of the emergency variety, you'll want to be able to reach down and turn off that water quickly. The fact is that if left alone too long, the rubber or neoprene seals inside those valves will become coated with minerals in the water and won't turn. If the valves are difficult to turn, try working them back and forth a quarter inch at a time until they loosen and turn freely. Be careful, don't force them. Be patient but firm or you could break the valve, causing a spewing water leak... panic will set in until you find a 24 hour plumbing company to come to your rescue.
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