Angle Stops in Plumbing

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Among the most important, but often overlooked, fixtures in your house are angle stops. A GUIDE PROVIDED TO YOU BY THEPIPEWRENCHERS PLUMBER TORONTO

Pipes and valves in plumbing

They’re everywhere, and you depend on them to perform their protective functions every day. They’re the valves that supply water to your toilets, bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, wet-bar sinks, and even your ice-maker.

These little gems go unnoticed until they malfunction, and then they can cause great messes that can cost many dollars to clean up.
The malfunction that causes the most problem for the homeowner is the frozen valve. The stem of the kitchen faucet has sprung a leak and is squirting a fine stream of hot water into the homeowner’s left eye. He reaches under the sink to turn off the angle stop, but the handle won’t turn. The valve is frozen open. He runs to the garage for a pair of channel locks, and while he’s looking through his disorderly tool kit that fine stream water is evolving into a geyser that’s power-washing the newly painted kitchen cupboards. Once back with his trusty tool in hand, he crawls under the sink (wrenching his back in the process), applies what he thinks is the right amount of pressure, and manages to snap off the handle. Now he has water spewing from two different places.

Our hapless homeowner rushes out to the front of his house to shut off the water supply. In his hurry to save his now-flooded kitchen from mildew and himself from a five-hour lecture from his wife, he slips on the wet floor and crashes into their new baker’s rack, spraining his left wrist trying to steady himself. Bucking up and bearing the pain, our homeowner finally reaches the gate valve that will shut off the main water supply and easily spins it closed. The tide has turned on his plumbing problem, and all that’s left is to clean up the mess and call in a professional to change out the faucet and angle stop.

The homeowner makes his way back into the house, intending to find an Ace bandage in the bathroom for his throbbing wrist, but as he passes the hall he notices that the carpet is sopping wet. He looks into the kitchen, only to find that both faucet and angle stop are still gushing water. Having no other choice, the beleaguered homeowner runs to the curb and lifts the concrete lid to the city’s shutoff valve, further hurting his injured wrist, and brushes away a blanket of spider webs to get to the shutoff valve and finally turn off the water.

Don’t be a beleaguered homeowner! All of our friend’s problems could have been avoided if he had performed some simple maintenance on the angle stops. A shot of penetrating oil around the valve stems and turning them on and off every few months would have avoided this messy mishap. And, of course, old valves with hard copper or chrome tubing should be replaced right away. Remember, an ounce of prevention is better than mildew and a sprained wrist.