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Know Where Your Shut Off Valves are Located & How to Operate Them

Know Where Your Shut Off Valves are Located & How to Operate Them

It is important as a homeowner to know where your all the shut off valves for your home are located and how to operate them.

Water:

For your water supply lines it is important to locate your main shut off valve.  Simply turn your shut off valve till it is perpendicular to the pipe. This will stop the flow of water to the entire house. You should be familiar with the individual shut off valves in your home as well. They are known as isolating valves and they are at your washing machine, sinks and toilets. You will want to know how to shut off these valves in case of a leak or if water starts shooting out of a pipe. The sooner you stop the water the less damage may occur. Exterior faucets may also have isolating valves but because of their exterior nature these valves may not be located by the valve itself. Instead they can be located near an interior sink or by the main shut off valve.

Gas:

You should also know the location of your gas shut off valve. However if you notice a gas leak you should leave your house immediately and call your utility company. In many homes the shut off valve for your gas is located at the meter. A wrench is needed to turn the gas off and on. Some homes have a second gas shut off valve that is similar to water shut off valve. Isolated gas shut off valves have a lever that rotates ninety degrees. When the lever is in line with the pipe the gas is flowing. When it is perpendicular to the pipe the gas is shut off.  There may also be smaller levers that will feed to individual appliances in your home.

Appliances:

Some of your appliances may also have shut off valves at the units themselves. If you shut off the gas supply on appliances keep in mind that the pilot light will go out. This includes furnaces, gas fireplaces and hot water heaters. Once you turn the gas back on you will need to relight the pilot light on each appliance.

How to Adjust a Toilet for the Best Flush

How to Adjust a Toilet for the Best Flush
Do you have a toilet that always seems to be running? This is sometimes caused by a fill valve that has been set too high, which causes the water level to be higher than the overflow tube.

Toilet Fill Valves

Toilet fill valves control the flow of water from the supply lines to refill the tank between flushes. Fill valves typically come in two types. One contains an arm with a float connected to the top of the valve. The other type contains a floating cylinder that moves up and down the valve body.
All fill valves are adjustable. Some can be adjusted with a screwdriver and some by moving the float up or down manually. Sometimes there is a spindle you can screw up or down to adjust.

Water Level

If the water level is too low, it may cause a weak or improper flush. You’ll want to check to see that the water fills to the appropriate line in the tank and readjust if needed. Sometimes the fill valve is adjusted too low and the tank does not fill up with enough water. Those same adjustments you made to lower the water level will fill the tank to the correct height for a good flush.

Water Supply

Check to see if there is an adequate water supply to the toilet. Check the outlet on the angle stop to see if it is a ½” iron pipe connection. A toilet flush requires the additional water that enters the tank once the flush begins. When the water supply lines are too small, they restrict new water from entering the tank fast enough to aid in the flush.

Finally, sometimes the toilet starts to flush but during the process it stops suddenly when a flapper valve reseals onto the flush valve seat. If this happens, usually the flapper valve is not buoyant long enough during the flushing process. Replacing the flapper valve should fix the problem.
Sometimes after all of the adjusting that you can do, you still have a flush that is not strong enough to clean the bowl. Try this. Pour a five gallon pail of hot water into the toilet bowl. Add some Drano. Then go to the water tank and add some Dawn dish washing liquid into the fill valve. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and flush. If it is still too weak, you may have to do it again.

Basic Faucet Replacement

Faucet replacement is a very easy task that anyone can do. Here are the basics that you should know about faucet replacement.

Being Prepared and Choosing Your Faucet

You should pick out a new faucet and have it on hand before you start to remove your old faucet. Having it on hand before removing the old one will make things easier and faster for you.  For your bathtubs and sinks, you can get single or double handled faucets. Generally, faucets have a standard size regarding their hook-ups, depending on their use. For kitchen faucets, you can usually find units with an 8 inch hookup. Bathroom vanity faucets usually come in 4 inches, while bathtubs come in 8 inches.

Tools That You Need

wrenches

channel lock pliers

or a basin wrench

Steps to a New Faucet

First, you should turn off all water supply lines that are linked to your faucet.  Once you have shut off your water supply you can remove the supply lines coming from both sides of your faucet. After that you should remove the large retainer nuts that are holding your faucet to the sink. When you are done with this, remove the old faucet from the sink.  Clean up the area where the old unit was. Once you are done cleaning up, get your new unit and place it in the holes. Then you can tighten the retaining nuts and hook up your water supply lines. Use plumbers putty or thread tape to prevent leaks or dripping on the joints, specifically in between the faucet and sink, or the supply line and the faucet. Turn on your water supply and do some tests for leaks and other defects. If you have some leaks, try reinstalling it again and make sure that you tightly place each part where they should be.

Upstairs Laundry Room – Tips to Avoid Flooding

Upstairs laundry roomAn upstairs laundry room can create a lot of water damage if there is ever a problem with flooding.

Four Tips to Protect Your Home from Damage

Follow these four simple steps and you can help prevent flood damage to an upstairs laundry room in the event of a washing machine malfunction.

  1. Install a Washing Machine Outlet Box:  These washing machine outlet boxes provide quick, safe, water supply shut-off access.  Complete with knockouts for waste or water lines, the box provides a recessed space for your supply valves.  These boxes are designed to install in panel, drywall or plastered surfaces, and provide a finished look to your installations.  These are available at most local home supply/hardware stores.
  2. Install a Washer Pan or Tray:  This is a pan with a purpose.   A washer pan or tray is typically a rectangular piece of plastic that is placed beneath the washing machine so that it can catch water from any spills or leaks.   Pans are often equipped with a hose that can be connected to the drain pipe so that the water is easy to remove.   Washer pans are made of plastic and not metal to resist rust and other forms of damage.  While these trays are also thin, homeowners can be assured that the quality of the material is unbreakable and does not easily crack even under the weight of the washer.
  3. Check Water Supply Hoses:   Check older hoses for cracks and replace when necessary.  A burst hose can spell big, costly trouble.  If you’re buying new hoses, consider purchasing “no-burst” hoses.  These type of rubber hoses are sheathed with braided stainless steel.  Replacing the hoses can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.
  4. Turn off the Water to Supply Hoses:   For additional peace of mind, turn off the water supply to the washing machine.  This is easy to do with a single-lever shut off valve.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Choice Home Inspections Services at 770-490-6911, or click here to contact us by email.