preparing for plumbing emergencies
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preparing for plumbing emergencies

Do you have a plumbing repair kit in your home to make emergency repairs quickly? Having everything you need in one bucket or box can help you eliminate some of the stress that comes with plumbing emergencies. On this blog, you will find out what you should have in your kit and some basic tips about making these repairs to avoid further damage to your home. It is my hope that you will find more than enough information to keep your home dry, your drains draining, and a peace of mind and lack of stress to tackle these dreaded household occurrences.

preparing for plumbing emergencies

How to Handle a Broken Water Shutoff Valve

Veronica Torres

It can be your worst nightmare - you go to shut off the main water valve beneath a sink or behind the toilet, and the handle breaks off. Now you have water gushing and you aren't sure what to do. Fortunately, this problem can be fixed.

Immediate Actions

Your first action is to stop the flow of water. If you can't do so at the localized shutoff valve due to a broken handle, then you need to do so at the water main. The main valve is typically located near the entrance of the mainline into the home. This may be in a basement, garage, or utility room. In some cases, the main will be located under a utility box lid in your yard, usually near the perimeter of your home's foundation.

Keep in mind that shutting off the water at the home's main will turn off all water entering the home, not just the water in the affected room. This means that it is just a temporary fix to stop the overflowing until you can have the damaged shutoff valve repaired.

Repair and Replacement

If an immediate visit from the plumber isn't an option, it may be possible to shut the affected valve on your own. Remove the broken handle so the valve stem is revealed. Then, use a pair of locking pliers to grasp the stem and turn it clockwise to shut it off. Once this is done, you can turn the home's main valve back on. You will now have water everywhere in your home except for in the room with the broken valve. A plumber will need to replace the broken valve to ensure a permanent fix. They will inspect it and replace any components, including the valve stem, that show signs of damage.

Prevention Plan

In the future, you can prevent issues with broken valves with some regular maintenance. As a general rule, most shutoff valves are rarely used. This means they can become corroded, grimy, and jammed over time. You can combat this by closing and reopening the valves at least twice a year. First, wipe down the exterior of the valves to remove any dust or grime. Then, apply a bit of lubricant around the valve handles. Finally, turn the valves open and closed several times to work the lubricant into the handle mechanism. This should keep them moving smoothly.

Contact a plumbing system repair service if you have an issue with any of your water valves.