If your plumbing is old and started to corrode, you may worry about a pipe leak causing water damage to your home. Even newer plumbing can have problems with leaking, so pipe leaks are something you should know how to handle because quick action reduces the amount of water damage done to your home. The key is to shut the water off fast by using the valve on your water main. Here's what you need to know about the shut-off valve. 

Keep The Manual Shut-Off Valve Operational

Everyone in your household should know where the main plumbing shut-off valve is located and how to use it. When there is any type of plumbing emergency in the home, water can be cut off immediately by turning the valve. However, this is only possible if the valve functions as it should. When the valve is outdoors and exposed to the elements, it is at risk of corrosion or seizing up. Even an indoor valve can get stuck and be useless.

Prevent this problem by turning the valve occasionally to keep it easy to operate. If the valve won't budge, call a plumber to fix the problem so your valve will always be ready for an emergency.

Install An Automatic Valve

A manual shut-off valve only works if you're at home to use it. Even if you're at home, it takes a short time to react and reach the valve to turn it off. You can have a plumber install an automatic shut-off valve in the main plumbing line. This valve works by itself and will turn off the water even if you're not at home. It works instantly so the disaster can be stopped immediately before a lot of water damage is done. The valve detects changes in pressure, so when a pipe bursts, pressure in the pipe changes and the valve immediately closes and stops water flow.

When a pipe bursts under the floor or behind a wall, you may not even notice it right away, but the automatic valve will notice and shut off the water flow. This acts as an alert that lets you know something's wrong, and by shutting off the water right away, you can prevent a huge water bill.

An automatic shut-off valve has to be installed by a plumber, but once that's done, you'll have peace of mind knowing your home is protected from a sudden water leak and expensive water damage. Speak with a plumber for more information.