As a homeowner, you’re well aware of just how quickly a bad situation can turn worse when it comes to the water faucet. This is especially true on the East Coast, where plumbers in Pittsburgh have plenty of stories of frantic calls to their offices because of pipes that burst in the extreme winter cold.
Although you should always seek the help of professional plumbing services in Pittsburgh when faced with such a problem, it is important to find out how to shut the water off in your home before they arrive – to minimize the damage.
The Types of Water Valves Inside Your Home
There are actually two main water valves in most homes; this became a requirement and a part of the general building code for most houses. One of them is inside and the other is underground; the latter, of course, requires master plumbers in Pittsburgh to shut off.
As for the water valve inside your home, it has either so-called ball valve or a gate valve; the former requires an alignment of the pipe and handle, and usually resides in homes that have main water pipes comprised of copper or plastic. Turning the valve until it is at a right angle with the pipe closes it back up. In case of an emergency, always have a tool nearby this valve before you call Pittsburgh plumbing; just in case it’s too hard to turn.
The gate valve, on the other hand, is old-school and securely shut – in fact, unless you’re moderately strong, you may not be able to turn it using your bare hands. It is easy to determine the difference between a gate valve and a ball valve; the gate valve is operated by a circular wheel that lifts or drops a wedge onto the path of the water to either stop it completely, or allow it flow freely. It is a sturdy and long-lasting design that reduces friction and energy loss.
Where Are Your Water Valves?
Where the valves are usually depends on when your house was constructed. In fact, the type you have also depends on this; older homes tend to have the more robust gate valve, and it is often located on the side of the house that doesn’t face the street (the shut-off for the house; that is). The shut-off for the main water valve will likely face the street, since that’s the one that your Pittsburgh plumber would service. Homes that were built recently tend to have the ball valve configuration.
Another area where your water shut-off valve may be is in the basement or garage of your home, extending from a concrete slab or wall somewhere. In older houses, you might need to look in a crawl space in the basement to find it. In fact, for such an out-of-the-way place, you can invest in a second shut-off valve that is more convenient to access b calling professional plumbing services in Pittsburgh.
As a final note, you may not need to shut off the main in-house water valve – it depends on the age of your home, and the actual problem you’re having. There are localized shut-off valves in newer homes; for example, behind the toilet you can turn a handle to shut the water off to only that apparatus, and the same goes for the sink. Inspect your home to determine which ones you have – before an emergency manifests.
If you’re pipes begin to burst this winter, don’t hesitate to call in the Pittsburgh plumbing experts at Mister Sewer. With over 25 years of experience repairing and maintain Pittsburgh’s pipes, the Mister Sewer team has what it takes to deliver fast and courteous service to minimize damage and get your home’s plumbing back into working order. If you’re looking for fast, efficient solutions to any of your home’s plumbing problems, call Mister Sewer today!