Shut-off valves are an essential plumbing need because they regulate the water flow of the entire house. There are multiple types of valves and they control water flow in household fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and washing machines. The biggest advantage of shut-off valves is that they allow you to fully control the water flow of every appliance in your house. They also serve to minimize the water pressure in the pipelines.
Shut-off valves also make leak repair less of a hassle. If you don’t have a valve installed you may need to shut the water off for the entire house in order to address leaks. With a shut-off valve, on the other hand, you can stop water in the pipeline that needs repair without turning off water for the rest of the house.
Most new homes have shut-off valves pre-installed for the resident’s convenience, but this may not be the case with older homes. If your home doesn’t have shut-off valves, you may want to install them yourself so that you can control the water flow of every pipe in your house. The steps below explain how homeowners can make shut-off valve installation a do-it-yourself-project.
Things You’ll Need
1. An appropriate shut off valve
2. A pipe cutter
3. New supply lines, if necessary
4. An emery cloth
5. An adjustable wrench
Step-by-Step Valve Installation
1. Prepare the Valve
Since shut-off valves come in different shapes and sizes, it is important to determine which valve will best control water flow for the fixture or appliance you have in mind. Some pipelines come through the floor and may need a straight shut-off valve to work well, whereas pipes that come through the wall may need angular or straight valves. Measure the distance from the water supply line to the faucet in order to get new supply lines that you can attach to the valves.
2. Stop the Main Water Supply
You will need to cut off the main water supply before you begin. Find the shut-off valve that regulates the water in your house. It should be located somewhere outside your house, most likely near your water meter. Once you’ve turned it off, open a faucet to help the remaining water drain out.
3. Prepare the Pipe
Unscrew the pipe that supplies water to the fixture you are working on. If it is a soldered pipe, cut it with the help of a mini hacksaw or pipe cutter. Make sure you leave enough space between the cut and the escutcheon plate to fix it to the valve. If you cut the entire ring there won’t be enough room to properly attach the valve and leaks may occur. Use an emery cloth to deburr the copper pipe.
4. Install the Valve
Put the compression ring through the pipe and towards the wall so that it completely covers the supply line. Next, insert the valve into the compression nuts before tightening it with your hands or an adjustable wrench. Avoid tightening too much, however, as this may damage the pipes and cause leaks.
5. Turn on the Water
Turn on the main water supply once you have installed the valve. You should also turn on the shut-off valve to let water pass through it. Finally, turn on the faucet to check that the valve is working properly and ensure that water is not leaking through it.
Installing or replacing a shut-off valve is easy and requires minimal plumbing tools. As a homeowner, you may do it on your own without help from a plumber. Of course, that may not be a good idea if you are unsure of which valve to select or feel uncomfortable handling plumbing tasks. In that case, it’s better to leave the work to a professional and enjoy the convenience of shut-off valves.