Exercise Those Valves and Save!

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, certain areas of home maintenance tend to get pushed to the back burner. Home owners simply take for granted that everything will work when we need it to, but in the back of our minds know that’s not the case. Where do we even start? When it comes to your plumbing system, Heiland Home Services offers this friendly tip that even the most un-mechanical homeowner can complete! Exercising your home’s water shutoff valves is a great way to confirm that everything is in tip top shape, and assure that a future problem doesn’t go from bad to worse when you discover your valve isn’t working in an emergency situation when you need it most. Conservative estimates tell us that the national average for valve failure is upwards of 40%, so don’t think it couldn’t happen to you! Now, you may be thinking, “what does it mean to “exercise” my valves? Does my plumbing system need some sort of a gym membership!?” While it does have a rather funny name, this simple check, performed  yearly, will help to assess the overall health of your system, and address problems before they even develop! 

Exercising your valves simply means doing a visual check of your valve shutoff locations, and testing them through their full range of motion to assure there are no issues that must be addressed.

What should I look for? 

  • Leaking Valves: Leaking valves indicate a problem in the system. Perhaps the problem is as simple as a worn seal,(see fig 1 for location of packing nut) or maybe the valve itself is failing. It’s better to find a leak now than to allow problems to develop down the road… water damage can be costly! 
  • Questionable Valves: The valve turns, so everything is ok, right? Not necessarily. Check the valve for excessive developing corrosion. Is the valve able to turn through its full range of motion? It is of vital importance that the valve be able to close COMPLETELY, so if full range of motion is not achievable, you may need to consider replacing this otherwise visually acceptable valve.
  • Seized Valves: Over time, valves that have not been used (stop valves and gate valves) get stiff, corrode, and sometimes seize completely! In an emergency, you want to make sure that the flow of water can be stopped at a moments notice. If you should find a seized valve during your check, don’t panic! First try spraying the valve with WD-40, and if this doesn’t loosen it up, contact Heiland Home Services so we can fix or replace the valve.

A small commitment on your part to the upkeep of your home pays huge dividends over time, but eventually, all systems break down and need maintenance or repair. Should you find any issues while checking your system, or for any home services needs, you can always count on Heiland Home Services… “Bringing  QUALITY back to the trades!