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Sweetwater Plumbing Blog

Do Automatic Shut-Off Valves Really Work?

home-floodingYour house may already have an automatic shut-off valve for its plumbing and you may not even know about it. If you find out that you don’t have one (and you can always ask one of our plumbers to check on this for you) then we strongly recommend you arrange for the installation of an automatic shut-off valve in Ontario, CA or wherever your home is in Southern California.

An automatic shut-off valve is an important way to stop flooding in your home due to a major plumbing accident. Having an automatic shut-off valve in place will give you important peace of mind about your home whenever you leave it empty, whether for the day or for when you go on extended vacation. An emergency shut-off valve is helpful even if you are home: in case of a sudden broken faucet and water spilling everywhere, you won’t have to dash to find and turn the manual shut-off valve: the automatic system will take care of it for you.

How an Automatic Shut-Off Valve Works

The shut-off valve for emergency situations is located near where the water main enters your home, close to the manual valve you can use to shut off the water flow yourself. The valve is designed to close automatically when it senses there is a leak somewhere allowing water to escape. But how does the valve make this detection?

There are different methods. One is with sensors in the floor that detect the presence of liquid and then send an electric signal to the valve to close. The sensors are placed in areas where water leaks are most likely to occur, such as around the water heater. Some of these sensors will also send a signal to a home automation system, which will then transmit an alert to the homeowner’s smart phone.

The other common type of automatic shut-off valve works in a simpler way: it measures water pressure. If the pressure suddenly drops, it probably means water loss from a large leak in the home. The valve automatically closes to stop continued water flow and prevent more water damage.

And yes, these systems actually work! There is a small chance of one activating accidentally and shutting off the water main, but you can easily access the valve and open it if this happens. However, we advise you make absolutely certain first that there is no leaking in the house; the valve may have detected a problem you aren’t aware of—which is another one of the big advantages of having one installed.

Let the Professionals Install Your Automatic Shut-Off Valve

You don’t want to tamper with anything that’s connected to your home’s water main, and this is true for shut-off valves. It’s a job for professional plumbers only. Our plumbers will help find the right type of shut-off valve, install it, and have the sensors in place (if that’s the type of valve system you have). We’ll show you how to reset it if it goes off.

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