A water shutoff valve is a plumbing fixture that can be found in your home, providing an easy way to turn off the flow of water. They are installed at strategic points so you can quickly stop the flow if there's a leak or other problem and prevent extensive damage.

However, these valves fail for many reasons including corrosion from saltwater, sediment buildup, and wear and tear over time.

There are a lot of different water shutoff valves in your house, but the most important one is the main valve. It can turn off all of the water to your home and it's either located on an outside wall or underneath ground level depending on where you live. The other shut off valves aren't as big because they only control individual fixtures like toilets, sinks, and hotwater heaters.

But like any other appliance or plumbing in your home, there are some problems that you may encounter with these shut off valves and in this article, we're going to discuss the problems that can occur with the shut off valves under the sink.

Why Do Water Shut Off Valves Fail?

The most common problems that you could encounter with your shut off valves are....

1. It's Stuck

It's not unheard of for a valve to get stuck, which can lead to water leaking out.

If you've not been regularly turning your sink or toilet shut off valves for a while, they can become seized. If this happens to the valve and it cannot be turned by hand, there's an easy fix! Simply use some WD-40 and then use an adjustable wrench to loosen up the stem nut just enough so that when you turn the knob again with your hands - the bond should be broken and the valve should turn easily.

When you are finished doing what needs done, tighten it back down and make sure no leaks happen before moving onto other tasks.

2. It's Leaking

Drip, drip. That's the sound of a leaking shut off valve! It may seem minor at first but if left unchecked that leak can eventually grow into an expensive problem for you. Luckily there are two ways to keep those drips in check: tightening or replacing the packing nut and turning off/on again; or by calling your trusty plumber to have them replace the valve before things get worse.

But if you do have to call in your plumber, while you wait for him to arrive we recommend that you turn off the main water valve in the meantime.

3. It Only Closes Partially

Sometimes, when you try to turn the shut off valve it only turns halfway or so - in other words - it won't close entirely. Now, this is obviously better than being completely stuck (which can happen) but still, it means that it's getting partially stuck.

The solution is the same as we mentioned earlier. Use a little WD-40 and then an adjustable wrench to work on loosening it up so that you can close it properly.

4. A Burst Pipe

When homeowners think of a pipe bursting, they normally don't think that it can burst right by the shut off valve, but that can certainly happen.

If your pipes are old or if they weren't properly shut off during the cold winter months, then you may be seeing a leak from your valve because of a burst pipe near that valve.

The solution, of course is to repair the broken pipe and that often requires the skill and expertise of a professional plumber.

How Long Do Water Shut Off Valves Last?

Many people are curious about how long water shut off valves last. This is a common question for homeowners, and it's important to know the answer because if your valve ever goes out, you don't want to be without water!

A good rule of thumb is that the lifespan of most residential water shut off valves ranges from 10-15 years. This means that when you buy a house with an old valve, you should budget in the money for an upgrade so that your family doesn't have to live through any unexpected emergencies in the future.

If you have any questions about water shut off valves or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.