Your Gas and Water Shut Off Valves CheckList

We want to do it ourselves and save a few bucks, but it’s best to leave it to a professional when replacing your shut-off valves. Now you can look online, and you’ll find many resources telling you how to change or install a shut-off valve. Still, nothing can replace the experience of a knowledgeable plumbing professional. The smallest leak can cause severe damage to your home. As a plumbing company, we’re all too familiar with the do-it-yourselfer (DIY) job that went wrong. Then, there are those minor plumbing fixes that homeowners or the average DIY can attempt themselves, such as clearing a drain, changing minor parts in your toilet, or replacing washer hoses.

Know How To Shut Off Your Bathroom Shut Off Valves

Shutoff valves are also called stop valves, and they come in different shapes, sizes, and uses. For instance, a washing machine shut-off valve can manually control water flow and pressure. It comes complete with a single lever control. Your bathroom gets equipped with two, sometimes three shut-off valves, one for your toilet and two under the sink, one for hot water and the other for cold. The bathroom shutoff valve is a compression valve with a water supply hose attached. Compression valves work by compressing a brass sleeve inside a coupling nut and screw onto the valve body. When the nut gets tightened on the valve, the brass sleeve compresses firmly against the copper pipe, forming a watertight seal.

shut off valve in plumbing system

Replace Your Shut-Off Valve At Least Every Ten Years

Fixture shut-off valves deteriorate over time. They should get replaced every ten years or whenever you replace a sink, toilet, or faucet, whatever comes first. Once a year, you should turn them off and on a couple of times to ensure they are still functioning correctly. It’s not uncommon for them to stay open for ten or even fifteen years, so when you try and shut them off, they are stuck in place. If you can break them loose by chance to shut them off, they immediately start to leak. It’s all part of maintaining your home’s plumbing system. 

We Recommend a Shut Off For Your Water Heater

In addition, we recommend that every water heater should have a shut-off valve attached, so repairs maintenance could easily get completed. Again, the ball valve with the lever handle is the best recommendation for your water heater. A quarter turn immediately shuts off the incoming cold water to the heater. Even your dishwasher has a shut-off valve. You can usually locate it under the sink or in a cabinet next to the dishwasher. It’s a 1/4 inch copper line that’s attached to a saddle valve. 

Know How To Shut Off Your Water

Every homeowner should know where to locate their shut-off valves, and they should be familiar with how to shut off their water and gas whether you’re completing some maintenance or it’s something worse happens like a burst pipe. First, every home gets equipped with two water shut-off valves; one is at the meter close to the street, it usually has a lever handle, and is located at the top of your meter. The meter at the street has two shut-offs, one for the water utility company and the other for the homeowner.

Next, there is a shut-off to the house in case of an emergency, repairs, or maintenance. The shut-off is usually a ball valve with a lever handle. You could typically find it by walking a straight line from your water meter to your home; it attaches to your incoming water supply line. Sometimes it’s located close to the water heater.

Low Water Pressure - Shut-Off Valve

Learn How To Shut off Your Gas Line

Next is our gas line, if you smell gas in your home and don’t know how to shut it off, your only option is to remove yourself from the house and call 911 or your gas company hotline. If you smell gas and you know how to shut it off, then do so and call Big B’s Plumbing. Your gas shut-off valve is located at your gas meter on the side of the house. It requires a large adjustable crescent wrench. Once the gas to your home gets turned off, only your gas utility company can turn it back on.

Shutoff Valve Checklist:

  • Toilet: If you’re facing the toilet, it’s usually located on the left side.
  • Bathroom sinks: Shutoff is under the sink.
  • Kitchen sink: In the cabinet under the sink 
  • Washer: Located in the outlet box above the washer 
  • Dishwasher: Under the kitchen sink
  • Water heater: It’s usually on the incoming cold water copper pipe.
  • Home: The shut-off valve to shut the water off to the complete house can be found in the garage or on an outside wall.
  • Gas: The shut-off to your gas is on the meter outside. You’ll need an adjustable crescent wrench handy to turn it off.

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