What do valves get stuck?

Plumbing valves help maintain water flow into landscaping irrigation, sinks, toilets and more. These valves are not used often because once they are turned on, they are left on. In an emergency such as a broken water pipe, it is essential that shut-off valves are working properly to limit the damage and water loss. Water conservation from damaged valves is the main concern because the drought is putting a strain on consumption, and excessive water leaks can lead to heavy fines. Shut-off valves, also called stop valves or angle stops, are usually placed in hidden areas, making them easy to ignore over time. By not regularly maintaining shut-off valves, minerals in the water accumulate around the base of the valve and harden. Over time, the valves stiffen and eventually stick, making it harder or impossible to operate. Most people discover this problem when they have a broken pipe and need to use the shut off valve to stop an excessive water leak.

How to fix stuck valves:

Preventing shut-off valves from hardening is simple with these guided steps: first, check all valves on a semi-annual or annual basis. To do this, turn the valve to make sure it’s working properly with all its functions.  If the valve is shut and won’t budge, do not use excessive force to open it; the valves are made up of a chromed brass and can possibly break or even bend with applied force when using pliers or a wrench to loosen them. Our suggestion to this problem would be to loosen the bonnet nut with a wrench instead; this will cause the handle and stem to loosen up. If you do experience water leak from loosening the bonnet nut, start to re-tighten the bonnet nut slightly, where you have movement in the valve. It is important to monitor your valves to prevent any unnecessary water loss due to the severity of the drought and to watch your bottom line (huge water bill!). Making sure your valves are not stuck is an avoidable precaution to help conserve as much water as possible.

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