The importance of Isolation Valves
How can I stop a Water/Gas leak?
Household pipework can throw challenges at you when you least expect it. A simple task of hanging a picture can turn to disaster if your nail punctures a water or gas feed behind the Gib lining. If water starts pouring from your wall you will want to know how to shut it off.
There should be an isolation valve for your property, house, unit or apartment. There will be one for water and, if you have gas, one for that as well.
It is best to know in advance where the isolation valves are and to have confidence that they will work if needed.
The isolation valves are often in “Toby boxes”.
They can be found near the water meter or between the meter and your home.
Find the Toby Box and work out how to remove the lid – some have lugs that will open when rotated, others need a screwdriver to pop open.
The valve inside should open and close without too much effort. (Tip: if closing the valve seems to have no affect on your water flow you may have just cut off water to the neighbouring apartment so turn it back on).
The isolation valve is usually outside near the meter.
If there is a protective cage over the meter there should be a hand space to access the isolation valve.
The handle is normally a lever type ball valve that you turn 90 to shut the flow. You can try shutting the gas off, but this may require reigniting pilots on some older appliances.
There are isolation valves on the gas bottles.
Turn the knob clockwise to shut off the gas.
There will probably be a second valve on the switchover regulator shut this off also for good measure.
If any of the valving mentioned above does not shut off easily it should be serviced or replaced as it will be of no use to you should you need it in an emergency.
Emergency - I have a problem now!!
Gas : Shut off gas. if safe, ventilate the house. Exit the property. If serious dial 111
Water : Shut off water. If valve not found/working turn on other taps to reduce pressure.
Who is responsible for maintain the isolation valve?
Generally for Water and Natural Gas if the isolation valve is before the meter the utility provider, namely Watercare or Genesis/Contact/..etc, are responsible for providing a working isolation valve.
In all other cases it is the property owner’s (or their Body Corporate’s) responsibility. If it is your responsibility and you need a hand, call SEAL Plumbing and Gas Services for help.
Finally, isolation valves should be accessible. Don’t build a deck, path or doghouse over them. Don’t park the boat on top of them or stack the firewood there. If you want to minimise damage from little disasters that are part of life you need to be able to shut off your Water and Gas as soon as possible.