If you had asked me this oh, say, day before yesterday, I wouldn't have thought about it--after all, I had at least had the forethought to ask my husband where it was and and how to turn it off in case I had to use it in an emergency. Yesterday, we needed to turn it off. Nothing happened.
For reasons that are unnecessary to my point, and also thankfully, not reasons that would be considered an emergency, we needed to have the water off for work in the kitchen. Thankfully, also, my husband was the one that made the discovery that the valve no longer wanted to be useful in any discernible way. When turning the valve failed to yield any results, efforts were made to reach people that might know how to resolve the problem, to no avail. I had company over at the time, and the suggestion was made that we might have to ask the city to turn it off. At that point of the day, city aid would not have been available. My husband went outside and tried to turn off the valve that led to city access. This secondary valve also offered no remedy to the situation. The water was still on. The work in the kitchen still needed to be completed. The clock was still ticking, and it reached that hour where the person here to do the work in the kitchen called it a day on our project. We were effectively stymied, and left with not an emergency, but a rather large and irritating problem in our kitchen, and an appointment to finish what should have been a quick procedure later today.
We literally did not know what to do next. I mean, who do you call, besides the city, to fix a problem of this nature? Fortunately, my husband has a relative who is really savvy when it comes to house maintenance, and is actually in the process of building his own house. And when I say building his own house, I mean literally. So my husband gave him a call. The two of them went downstairs, and after a few minutes the water stopped flowing. Apparently, the valve just hadn't been turned enough, and this relative told me something to the effect that there is an art to knowing just how far to turn a valve like that and knowing when to stop before you broke it, and having passed that point in the past, he knew where it was. I thanked him for sharing his expertise. One valve down.
They then went out to the outside valve in the front yard with--get this--a jackhammer. It was quite a show for the children, who gathered at the front window to watch as the valve was dealt with. It was quick--apparently the valve had not only been concreted over by a previous homeowner, but the cap rusted somewhat as well. Our relative is knowledgeable about how to deal with said cap so we won't have a repeat performance, and it will be dealt with. But now, thankfully, we have the two ways that we should have had in the first place to turn off our water. Hopefully we won't need them--but having them and not needing them sure beats the other way around.
We are very grateful for said family member who took time out to help us deal with our water valve situation--as my husband says, he saved the day. I doubt that he even knows I have a blog, much less that this particular blog is mine, but if he ever recognizes himself in the situation as he peruses the internet, I say thanks. One other positive that came out of this whole experience is that the person who came to do the work in the first place told us about a better, cheaper option for what we are doing, and he will be doing that today instead when he comes back. So, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I am very very very grateful that I/we were not running around trying to turn these valves off while our house was flooding for some reason. I am very grateful that I/we didn't turn it so far that it broke, causing even more problems. There is a lot to be grateful for.... and believe me, I am.
So I ask you again, how's that shut-off valve working for you? How about that other one? Do you know where they are? Do you know how they work? (I actually wouldn't have had a clue as to how to locate the outside one, but I'm wondering if jackhammer tracks would lead me to it this morning if I tried to find it... :) Please find out before you have an emergency, as we were so blessed to do. Just don't turn that valve too far....