A main water shutoff valve allows the water to be shut off that is coming in from the utility water supply. There are some simple repairs that the homeowner can do to maintain the shutoff valve.
Leaking from the Valve
When the valve is opened or closed there may be a small leak from the valve. To repair this nut can be tightened carefully. If this does not fix the problem then the valve needs to be repacked. Shut the valve off. Take out the screw on the top and take off the handle. Unscrew the nut. Install a new washer. Then put the nut back on. Put the handle back on and screw in the top screw.
Replacing the Valve
If you have an old style gate valve and it ceases to work you may have to replace the valve since parts are hard to find. Replace the gate valve with the newer ball valve. They are more reliable and shut the water off more quickly. The first step is to have the water from the street shut off by the city. Then remove the old valve and follow the instructions that come with the ball valve to install it.
Keeping the main water shut off valve in good working order will ensure that it you can turn the water off quickly and easily in the event of an urgent plumbing problem.