Do you know where your main water shutoff valve is?
If not, you could be headed for trouble. Here’s why. Water damage from pipe leaks can cause extensive damage – in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. And it can be so easily avoided – just by knowing where your main water shutoff valve is and then turning off the water at the first sign of trouble. So here is some advice:
- Know where your shutoff valve is. It is usually in the basement along the wall of the front of the house.
- Tag it.
- Show your family members where it is, in case you are not home and they are when a leak occurs and the water needs to be shut off.
- If you do not know where the shutoff valve is, call a plumber, who can locate and tag it.
- Once you know where it is, make sure you always have access to it. For example, if you are paneling your basement, make sure there is a cut out where the shutoff valve is.
- Every few months or so, exercise the shutoff valve by turning it off and then on. If it is stuck, you can try spraying it with a lubricant such as WD-40. If that still does not work, you may need to call a plumber.
- The valve may also leak or even break if it has not been opened for a long period of time. In that case you may need to have the valve replaced. While it may cost you a few hundred dollars to replace, that is a small price to pay to protect yourself from extensive and expensive repairs.
- The best time to exercise your shutoff valve is on a weekday morning. That way if you have a problem, you may be able to call a plumber and schedule a repair for the same day at normal rates, rather than emergency rates.