Have you ever seen one of these before? Or have you heard someone refer to a ball valve? A ball valve is a form of shut off valve which has two major advantages.
First, a ball valve is easy to use. This is a quarter turn valve, which means that the handle only needs to be turned 90 degrees in order to open or shut the valve. This is much easier than the old style compression valves which required a lot of turning, and often do not shut off all the way once they have aged.
Second, a ball valve is more reliable and can last longer than compression valves. The valve is called a ball valve because there is an actual hollow ball inside attached to the handle which is sealed by some rubber rings. The rotating ball creates much less friction against the rubber rings that the grinding of washers in a compression valve, so they tend to last a lot longer.
If you have old valves in your home, especially at your main shut off valve, you might consider having them replaced with ball valves. This way if there is a leak and you need to shut off the water quickly, you will have a fast and reliable valve to give you the control you need.
As always, we at Jerry’s Plumbing Repair would be glad to help updating any valves that you might want replaced!