Controlling Your Plumbing:

Controlling Your Plumbing:

The Importance of Shut Off Valves

In every home, there exists a network of systems working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our comfort and convenience. Among these, the plumbing and gas systems are vital, yet often overlooked until a problem arises. One key component of these systems is the humble shut-off valve. These small devices, located at various points in your home, control the flow of water and gas, and their importance cannot be overstated.

Shut-off valves are your first line of defense in the event of a leak or other sudden plumbing emergency. Imagine discovering a burst pipe in your home, water rapidly flooding your floors. Your first instinct would be to stop the water flow, and that’s where the water shut-off valve comes into play. With a quick turn, the water supply is cut off, preventing further damage.

Similarly, in the event of a gas leak, the gas shut-off valve allows you to immediately stop the flow of gas, averting potential disaster.

However, shut-off valves are not just for emergencies. They also allow for easy maintenance and repair of your plumbing and gas systems. Need to replace a faucet or fix a leaky pipe? Simply close the corresponding shut-off valve to stop the water flow, allowing you to work without the mess of water gushing out. The same applies to gas appliances; the gas can be easily and safely turned off when needed.

Despite their importance, shut-off valves are often overlooked until the moment they’re needed most. And nothing can be more frustrating than finding a valve that’s stuck or requires a special tool to operate in the midst of an emergency. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure the smooth operation of your shut-off valves. They should be easy to turn by hand, without the need for any tools. Regular annual checks and maintenance can help ensure that your shut-off valves are always ready to perform when needed, protecting your home and giving you peace of mind.

FUN FACT: A ½” water line that bursts suddenly and you cannot shut off the water, within 30 minutes will spew 420 gallons of water into your house. (30 minutes based on average time frame of realization of the event, panicked phone calls and an emergency response.

Where are the shut offs in my home?

Water Shut offs:

Water Main: Closing this valve will shut off all water to your house, hot and cold and to every fixture. It will either be a twist handle gate valve, which closes by twisting clockwise to the right, or a lever handle style ball valve which will close when it is perpendicular or forms a 90-degree angle with the pipe. Make sure you open a hose bib to bleed down the remaining pressure in the water lines and to affirm that the water is off.

Hose Bibs: These are found along the exterior perimeter of your house wherever you can connect a garden hose. These will primarily be a twist style handle, that rotate to the right or clockwise to close. Some modern hose bibs are lever style ball valves, again turn the lever until it is perpendicular or forms a 90-degree angle to close.

Angle Stops: Located under every faucet, sticking out of the wall is hot and cold angle stops to close the water to that faucet. At the bottom left side of every toilet, sticking out of the wall is an angle stop to close the water to that toilet. These will either be twisting style handles which rotate clockwise to the right to close, or it would be a tiny ball valve style which again the handle turns right 90-degrees to close.

Water Heater: This valve will be at the top right side of the water heater where the cold water feeds into the tank. It will again be either a gate valve with a twist style handle, the turns right, clockwise to shut down, or the lever handle style ball valve the closes at 90 degrees when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe. The nice thing about this is that if you have a hot water leak, you should be able to close the water heater valve to stop the leak and you can leave your cold water on in the house for flushing toilets, washing hands, etc.

Appliances: Refrigerators, behind the appliance is the shut off valve. It should be in a flush mounted recessed wall box with an angle stop. Washing machine hot and cold shut offs will be behind your washing machine or just below the top of it sticking out of the wall. Modern homes and upgraded homes usually have a flush mounted recessed wall box with a separate hot angle stop on the left and cold angle stop on the right. They obviously will be either the twist handle style or the ball valve 90-degree turn style angle stops. Dishwashers, almost 100% of them have the shut off valves located under the kitchen sinks. Either it will be its own independent angle stop or a shared two-way angle stop feeding both the kitchen faucet and the dishwasher.

Gas Shut Off Valves:

Gas Main: At the gas meter, usually located alongside your house on the side opposite your driveway, you will find your gas meter. On the left side of the gas meter, just above the ground is a little valve which does require a wrench or tool to turn the valve off. To close the gas meter along with everything gas related in your house, use your tool and turn the valve until the tool itself is perpendicular or 90-degrees with the gas pipe. If any of your gas valves are stuck and won’t budge, you can come out here and shut off all the gas to your house in this manner. In an emergency you should call the gas company or the fire department.

Stoves & Ovens: Behind your stove or underneath the oven there should be a corrugated yellow or grey gas supply flex, follow that back towards the wall and there should be a yellow handled gas cock. This valve is also a ball valve style and requires only a 90-degree turn of the hand to close the gas to this appliance. *If you cannot get the gas off or need help, call the gas company immediately. Then call DB Plumbing.

Wall Furnace: At the very bottom of the furnace where the control box and burner is, you will again find your gas cock, yellow handle shut off valve that closes when the handle is perpendicular or 90-degrees to the pipe. *If you cannot get the gas off or need help, call the gas company immediately. Then call DB Plumbing.

Water Heater: At the bottom of the water heater with all of the controls on the left side should be a corrugated gas supply line, follow that around and you should see your gas cock. Grab the yellow handle and turn it 90 degrees to close that gas to this appliance. *If your gas valve won’t shut off and you have an emergency, Call the gas company immediately. Then call DB Plumbing.

Gas Dryer: Generally, behind your clothes dryer, towards the bottom, sticking out of the wall is the gas shut off for your dryer. It will be connected to a yellow or grey corrugated flex line connecting to the dryer. This gas cock should turn easily by hand and again, at the 90-degree mark or perpendicular will be the off position. *If your gas valve won’t shut off and you have an emergency, Call the gas company immediately.

There are numerous different styles of gas shut offs for Floor Furnaces, HVAC or Central Air units, Fireplaces, Fire Pits, Natural Gas Barbeques and so on. My recommendation would be to contact DB Plumbing to arrange for one of our technicians to visit your home. Our knowledgeable technicians will identify and show you the location of all your shut-off valves, including gas and water, inspect them, explain the correct procedure for each one, and replace any valves that are malfunctioning or require tools to operate. All shut offs should be easy to operate by hand without the need of a tool.

Automatic Gas Shut Off:

In the realm of home safety, automatic gas shut-off valves are a game-changer. These devices, designed to automatically stop the flow of gas in the event of a leak or seismic activity, are an essential component of a modern home’s safety measures. They provide an added layer of protection, helping to prevent potential gas explosions and fires, which can cause significant damage and pose serious risks to occupants.

Automatic gas shut-off valves work by closing the gas feed to your home during a significant seismic event such as an earthquake. When such an event strikes, the valve automatically closes, shutting off your home’s gas supply, preventing any further gas from leaking out. This automatic response is instant and crucial in emergency situations where every second counts, and manually shutting off the gas may not be possible.

The ease of use of these devices is another significant advantage. Once installed, they require little to no maintenance and will operate automatically, providing peace of mind for homeowners. You can manually restore the gas once the danger has passed. Investing in an automatic gas shut-off valve is a small step that can have a big impact on the safety of your home and loved ones. It’s a testament to the adage that prevention is better than cure. Call the experts at DB Plumbing to install one of these life saving devices in your home.

Tips & Recommendations

Hot Water Leaks or Flooding:

If you notice hot water leaking or flooding in your home, one immediate step you can take is to shut off the cold-water feed to your water heater. This valve is typically located on the top right of the unit.

By shutting off this valve, you effectively stop the flow of water into the water heater, which in turn stops the flooding on the hot side. An added advantage of this approach is that it allows you to keep the cold water running in your house, minimizing the disruption to your daily activities. Once you’ve managed to stop the hot water leak, it’s crucial to call the professionals at DB Plumbing at your earliest convenience.

Our team of experienced plumbers can assess the situation, identify the cause of the leak, and carry out the necessary repairs or replacements. Remember, addressing a hot water leak promptly can prevent further damage and potentially costly repairs down the line. Stay prepared and stay informed with DB Plumbing.

Annual Check Up

Start the New Year tradition of safety with a comprehensive home plumbing check-up. Every January, take the time to inspect each valve in your home, including angle stops, rotor cocks, and shut-off valves for cold water, hot water, gas appliances, water heaters, dryers, and your main house shut-off valve. Turn each valve off and then back on again. This exercise helps ensure that all valves are functioning correctly and can be easily operated in case of an emergency.

In Closing

If you encounter any valves that are difficult to operate or won’t turn at all or require a special tool to operate, these need to be replaced!

Make a record of any difficult and non-operational shut off valves and call today to schedule a friendly, knowledgeable DB Plumbing technician. They will inspect, replace, and make safe any of your difficult or non-functional shut offs, whether they are for water or gas. They can walk you through your property, explaining each shut-off, and show you its proper operation. You’ll be thankful that you took this proactive approach the next time an unexpected plumbing issue arises. Adding value and comfort to your property is what we are all about.

Thank you for your time reading this.

DB Plumbing (714) 735-8617

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