As a homeowner, you’re well aware of 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 cold of winter.
Although you should always seek the help of professional plumbing services in Pittsburgh when faced with such a problem, it is crucial to know where your house’s water shut-off valve is and how to shut the water off in your home before they arrive. Having this information at the ready can help to minimize the damage caused by burst pipes.
Types of Water Valves Inside Your Home
There are two main water valves in most homes. One of them is inside and the other is underground; the latter, of course, requires master plumbers to shut off.
The water shut-off valve inside your home has either a so-called ball valve or a gate valve. The former requires an alignment of the pipe and handle, and usually resides in households with 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. Unless you’re moderately strong, you may not be able to turn it using your bare hands. 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 to flow freely. It is a sturdy and long-lasting design that reduces friction and energy loss.
Where Are Your Water Valves?
Where the water shut-off valve is in your house usually depends on when it was constructed. Older homes tend to have a more robust gate valve, 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 plumber would service. Homes built more recently tend to have the ball valve configuration.
Another area where your water shut-off valve might 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. You can invest in a second, more convenient shut-off valve for your water pipes by calling professional plumbing services in Pittsburgh.
Sewer Shut-Off Valves
Sometimes called backwater valves, sewer shut-off valves are designed to prevent public sewage from flowing into your home if there’s a city-wide backup, which can save you time and money by eliminating the need for costly cleanup. Sometimes, if your home sits at the bottom of a hill, your sewer shut-off valve will be located on the first floor. Your plumbing professional can help you find the sewer shut-off valve in your home.
As a final note, you may not need to shut off the main in-house water valve — it all depends on your home’s age and the actual problem you’re having. Many newer homes have localized shut-off valves for water pipes in different areas. For example, there may be a handle you can turn behind the toilet that will turn off the water to only that apparatus, and another separate handle for the sink. Inspect your home to determine which ones you have before an emergency manifests.
If your pipes begin to burst this winter, don’t hesitate to call the Pittsburgh plumbing experts at Mister Sewer! With decades of experience under our collective belt, the Mister Sewer team has what it takes to deliver fast and courteous service to minimize damage and get your plumbing back to working order. If you’re looking for quick, efficient solutions to any of your home’s plumbing problems, call Mister Sewer today!