Valves are used for every sort of plumbing emergency and maintenance. There are several types of valves. I will deal with the types most people use in day to day life. First, do you know where to turn off the water for your building in case of an emergency? The type of valve you have will also determine the success you will achieve when trying to do so. Gate valves the kind of valve you turn the handle repeatedly will seize if they are not properly maintained. Cheap construction grade valves usually never work in a pinch. There is an alternative to these types of valves. A simple ball valve. Yes a ball valve, if it is the right type, can be a life saver in a pinch. Its use is easy, just a lever on or off. Be sure to ask if the valve is a full port which means it does not restrict the flow rather it allows the full opening of the pipe to pass through the valve body. Angle stops, those little valves under your sink you never notice until you have a leak, also come in quarter turn ball valve styles. These valves should be replaced every time the fixture is replaced to ensure they will work in an emergency. The valve on your water heater could also be switched to a ball valve for emergencies. These are the most typical valves you would use in your building. Get familiar of the locations of the various valves on your building and maintain them so they will work when you need them.
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