Plumbing Tips 3
For the third and final article in this home plumbing maintenance series, we examine angle stops, water supply lines and the main shut off valve.
Angle stops are valves located under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, at your washing machine, at the toilet, and refrigerator icemaker. There are angle stops for both hot and cold water. Most angle stops are of the gate variety and are made of materials that may fail over time. Replacement of these valves is recommended when they are showing signs of leaking or they have “frozen” in the open position – meaning they can’t be turned one way or the other.
A plumber may be able to change out old angle stops with a new ball variety in a modest size home for less than the homeowner’s standard $500 deductible.
Angle stops need to be “exercised” regularly to make sure they are not frozen in the open position. Every month or two simply turn the angle stops off and on a few times. This will keep them working as they were designed. Never force a valve that is frozen in position. If you find a frozen valve, consult a plumbing professional as soon as possible.
Water Supply Lines
Water supply lines are connected from the angle stop to the appliance they serve, such as a faucet, toilet, washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator icemaker. Many times these are thin rigid lines that can easily break and cause extensive damage. Water supply lines should be checked regularly for corrosion and rust and changed every 5 to 7 years.
Among the preferred lines are those that are stainless steel braided over rubber with threaded couplings on both ends for the sink and toilet lines. Don’t forget the dishwasher and refrigerator icemaker supply lines. They are often overlooked because they are hidden. Replace plastic tubing with either soft copper or steel braided supply lines.
Main Water Shut Off Valve
Every homeowner should locate their main water shut off valve and know how to use it.
There are two types of main water valves: the gate valve and the ball valve. The gate valve is recognized by its round handle that must be turned a number of times to open or close the valve. The ball valve is recognized by its single handle that needs to be turned 1/4 turn, or 90 degrees, to turn the water on or off.
Your plumbing professional can tell you about the condition of the main water valve in your home and replace it if necessary.
You can read the full article here at http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=howTo&p=Safety/PlumbMaint.html