• Al Aldrete

Knowing the basics of your home

Whether you are new to owning your home or have had your home for several years, you have the keys to your very own home! Congratulations! No more rent increases, no more loud neighbors banging on the walls or walking above your ceiling. But then again there is no more landlord to call when the toilet get clogged or is running, or any other issues that may come up.

Depending on your comfort level with tools and the various areas of your home that need to be maintained or have the occasional problems there are some must need to know items like where are your water shut offs, gas shut offs, and power breakers.

WATER SHUT OFFS: Also called angle stops, are located near the fixture they feed. Usually these days they come from the wall, but occasionally can be found coming from the floor. There are two types of angle stops, MULTI-TURN and QUARTER TURN valves. Multi-turns are just that, you keep turning the valve to the right until it stops and the water is turned off. They are designed much like a gate valve (think of the water spigot you connect your garden hose to). Quarter turns are also just that, you turn the valve a quarter of the way and the water is either on or off. When the valve handle is perpendicular to the water pipe the water is off, when the valve handle is pointed up, the water is on. These are basically a ball valve type. Personally we like these better because they have less mechanical issues and don't fail as often as the Multi-turn valves, which in an emergency is the difference between a small puddle and huge pool of water. Water damage is one of the biggest causes for property damage in homes. Teaching your children where these shutoffs are is also important, because if they see the toilet overflowing, they can quickly turn off the water and slow or stop the spilling.

Look for shut off valves around toilets and sinks (usually directly under the sink), and for refrigerators with automatic ice machines and filtered water (usually behind the fridge).

You will usually have two location to turn water off to the entire home. One will be located along the outside of the house, usually tied with a hose spigot, and two gate valves one that will turn water on/off for the hose and one (usually the lower of t