San Diego – What’s one of the most common causes of home floods? Any plumber will tell you it’s lack of love and attention to your angle stops. Well, they might not say it like that, but they will agree. Read further about how to keep your angle stops happy (and thus your house nice and dry).
Just what is an angle stop? An angle stop is the water shut off valve you find under all your sinks and toilets. They allow you to shut off (and turn back on) the water supply to the sink or toilet. Being able to shut them off allows you to stop water from gushing into your home while you are changing or repairing plumbing elements (new faucet, etc). The picture below shows two bathroom sink angle stops, one for hot water and one for cold water.
What can go wrong with my angle stops? The good thing about angle stops is that (theoretically) when they are doing their job correctly, you can ignore them. The bad thing is that if you ignore them they can “freeze up” (due to calcium build up). Then when you do actually need to use them, and you naturally apply a little force to turn them, CRACK! — a handle breaks off completely and you’ve got yourself a nice flood. (You don’t want to calculate how much water can gush out during the time you are trying to remember where the main water shut off is for the whole house… Let’s just say, a lot.)
Calcium build up inside two angle stops
How can I keep my angle stops happy? The good news is, keeping your angle stops in shape is simple. At least once, ideally twice, a year, operate the valves fully, opening and closing each one once or twice. After opening the valve fully the last time, close it down 1/4 turn. For sinks, don’t forget to clean out the faucet aerator (screen) at the same time to remove any sandy grains that have been released from your (flood-avoiding!) maintenance manouevre. Cleaning out the faucet aerator will also keep the water flowing well out the faucet.
Remember — never force a frozen angle stop! Call your plumber (or tap the qualified handyman/woman in your life on the shoulder) to replace it.
Questions? Clean Earth Restorations is happy to answer all your flood prevention and remediation questions. Contact us today with questions or for a free estimate on restoration and renovation.
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