Replacing Some of Your Plumbing? How to Use Valves to Your Advantage

by Anita Ginsburg

If you’re undertaking some plumbing repairs or replacement, you may be wondering how to make the most of the valves in your system. After all, valves play an important role in ensuring that water flows where you want it to go—and not where you don’t. Here are a few tips on how to use valves to your advantage when working on your plumbing.

Know Where Your Valves Are

You should know where all your valves are. That way you can section off portions of your system if a leak occurs. This is why it’s important to use stainless steel valves and to know where your home’s shut-off valves are located; if there’s a leak, you can use the shut-off valve to stop the flow of water and prevent further damage. Most homes will have at least one shut-off valve for each appliance or fixture; some may have more, depending on the age and design of the home. 

Supply Lines

Supply lines are the pipes that bring fresh water into your home; they’re usually located behind appliances like toilets, sinks, and washing machines. Each supply line has a shut-off valve so that you can turn off the water flow to a particular appliance without affecting the rest of your home’s plumbing. This is useful if you need to make repairs or replacements to an individual appliance. 

Drain Lines

Drain lines carry wastewater away from your appliances and fixtures. Just like supply lines, each drain line has a shut-off valve so that you can block the flow of water (and sewage) from an individual appliance without affecting the rest of your plumbing system. This is useful if there’s a clog in a drain line; by shutting off the valve, you can prevent wastewater from backing up into other parts of your home. 

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are used to remove excess water from basement areas. They usually have two float switches—one that turns the pump on when the water level rises above a certain point, and one that turns the pump off when the water level drops below that point. If your sump pump has two float switches, it’s important to test both of them periodically to make sure they’re working properly. 


Valves play an important role in controlling the flow of water in your home’s plumbing system. By understanding how to use them properly, you can make repairs and replacements with ease—and without affecting other parts of your plumbing.

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