One of my goals for 2017 is to share at least one simple, action-oriented tip with readers of this blog every month – steps that can make maintaining your home easier, and save you money, by helping you avoid repairs.
The following is something I’ve been doing for years. While I can’t PROVE that it’s saved me money or headaches, I’m pretty sure it has!
Tip #1: Every time you clean your toilet, turn the water valve off.
At first glance, this tip may seem odd. It certainly received a rather odd look from my wife, Tracy, when I shared this idea with her.
Before I dive into the details…please allow me to share a brief story. It relates to the topic at hand, and it will explain why I share this tip:
Over the years, I’ve dealt with many clogged toilets. Who hasn’t? Many years ago, I found myself having to deal with a toilet that was just about to run over, and as I reached down to shut the water off to stop the water fill and prevent the mess, I found that the valve was stuck. It would not budge, no matter how hard I tried to turn the valve. I was able to stop the water just in time, by opening the tank and lifting the tank fill float. But…I was home alone…and my only option was to let the water run out over the floor as I ran to the basement to shut off the main water valve. By the time I got back upstairs, the toilet had overflowed significantly, and the floor was an absolute mess. It was NOT a fun clean up. From that point forward, every time I move to a new home – I check the shut-off valves under each toilet and make sure they are working properly (BTW, not every toilet has a shut-off valve on the wall beneath the tank, but they all should!). And…I make sure they continue to work on a regular basis. Like every time I clean the toilet!
Now…back to the tip:
Water valves that do not get used regularly may leak slightly around the stem of the valve after being turned off. Or worse yet – sometimes a valve that has not been turned in years will “freeze” in the open position and take a tremendous amount of force to un-stick. You may even need a wrench to turn it.
It is also fairly common for a valve that has not been used in years to not fully turn the water off when you do need to use the valve. Just imagine how frustrating that can be when you’re trying to repair or replace a toilet!
With these issues in mind…every time I begin to clean a toilet, I reach down and turn off the water supply to the toilet. My hope is that by doing this rather *often* the valve will function properly when I REALLY need it, and will be much less likely to leak, run on, or break (please note – when I say “often,” I’m likely being a bit optimistic, but I’m NOT going to be specific on how often I clean toilets…).
There’s an added benefit to turning the valve off for the actual cleaning process as well. If you turn the valve off, and then flush the toilet, the water level will be reduced inside the bowl. I feel this allows you to clean the toilet bowl a little easier, especially around the previous water line.
Note of Caution: If a water valve has not been turned in a long time, it may very likely develop a stem leak. Here’s a quick video on how to repair it: Stem Valve Repair – from SeeJaneDrill (BTW – we have no affiliation with this company, I just really like how Leah at SeeJaneDrill explained this repair!)
There ya go. Simple. Quick. And might just save the day, if you ever need to get the water shut off BEFORE the toilet overflows!
As always…thanks for reading!
PS: I may have convinced Tracy of the significance of this tip, especially after I shared my story with her. But I think the verdict is still out :). Also – if you found value in this post, I sure would appreciate if you shared it on your favorite social media platform – just click a button below!
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