If you never encounter a plumbing leak, you may not have a reason to use the water shut-off valves in your home. The problem with that is the valves can seize up if you don't turn them occasionally. This can cause inconvenience if a water leak happens, and it can even cause a plumbing emergency if your water main is stuck. If your plumbing is old and the valves are stuck, you should call a plumber to fix them for you so you're prepared to deal with an emergency. Here are some tips for maintaining your plumbing valves so they don't get stuck again.
Know Where Every Valve Is Located
If you have a newer home, you may have a shut-off valve for every faucet, toilet, and appliance that uses water. If your home is old, then there may be fewer valves in your home. Locate each valve so you know where to run in a hurry if there's a water leak. Also, when you know where each one is, then you won't miss one when you do periodic maintenance.
Clean And Turn Valves Regularly
Set up a schedule for cleaning the valves as you clean the rest of your house. Wipe them off with a cloth and note if there are areas of rust. When you see rust, scrape it off and consider stepping up your cleaning routine. If your home has high humidity, then rust may develop quicker and put the valves at risk of sticking shut. By opening and closing each valve regularly, the rust and grime are kept out of the threads so the valve will turn smoothly. If the valves stick, then add lubrication until they turn easily.
Look For Signs Of Dripping
When the area around a valve is rusty, a slow drip might be to blame. You can place a piece of paper or a saucer under the valve to collect water so you can tell if the valve is dripping. If it is, call a plumber for repairs because the drip will probably get worse over time. Plus, the drip could be causing water damage if the water rolls onto a base cabinet or under the floor. Also, a drip causes rust and may cause the valve to seize so you can't shut it off in an emergency.
It doesn't take long to turn, clean, and lubricate a plumbing valve, and if you ever have a leak, you'll be glad you kept up with the maintenance. If a leak develops under the kitchen sink and you can't turn the valve, you may have to turn off the water at the main valve and be without water in your entire house until a plumber can make repairs.