If you are doing any type of plumbing around any sink in your house a good thing to do is install shut off valves for your hot and cold water supplies. A lot of plumbers and home builders will try to cut costs by bypassing the installation of shut off valves in your home to save themselves a few dollars. The issue with not having shut off valves installed under your sinks is that if you ever have a problem with your bathroom taps or kitchen taps you have to shut the water off at the main water supply for your home to fix the problem. A worse scenario is that something happens and your taps snap or just spring a leak and you have to run frantically to find your main shut off for your home to turn the water off. I have seen some condo style apartments that had the main water shut offs in a separate room somewhere else in the building locked up and only the caretaker had a key. Can you imagine the mess there would be if a set of taps were to malfunction in one of those places and the homeowner did not have shut off valves? Do you even know where your main water shut off is? If you dont you should find out immediately.
What kind of shut off valves should you Install
If you want to install shut off valves under your sink you have to determine what type of valves you need to use.
Have a look under your sink and determine if you have copper water lines or if you have the newer type of water line which is PEX for short. PEX is a plastic, that is about all you need to know about PEX.
Next thing to determine is whether you need a straight through ball valve (type of shut off valve) or if you should install an angled valve.
Quick tip: The diameter of the water in side of the valve will be larger than the water out side of the valve. The water out side of the valve is the end you hook your water supply lines to that go from your valve to the underside of your taps. The water in side is either ½ or ¾ inches in diameter and the side of the valve that the water supply lines hook up to will most always be 3/8.
If you have copper water lines you can install sweat shut off valves which require soldering or install compression shut off valves for copper which require a couple of wrenches for those that are not interested in soldering. For those with deep pockets you can use shark bite ball valves that basically slide over the pipe with a solid push and thats all it takes, very simple installation but very very expensive.
If you have determined you have PEX water lines you will be able to install shut off valves for PEX pipe which crimp on using a special crimping ring and crimpers. The PEX crimpers are not cheap but most building supply centres will rent them out for next to nothing.
To determine if you require straight through or angled valves look at the route the water needs to take to get to your taps. If the water lines come out of the back or side wall under the sink then you might want to use angled shut off valves to route the water lines upwards.
If your water supply lines shoot up out of the floor or base or your cabinet then the straight through styles will probably be your best bet. If you need more info just leave me a message below and I will definitely get back to you.
Things to remember
If you install a pex compression mini ball valve on pex water lines or if you solder a sweat valve onto copper pipe make sure you have all of the supplies you need before you cut into any pipe.
Since you dont have shut off valves you will have to shut the water off at the main water supply in your home which is located with your water meter.
Now that you are installing valves you will probably need new water supply lines that go from the valve to the underside of the taps. You might be able to use the old ones if you are installing the valves close to where the old water supply lines feed off the water lines. If you end up not being able to use the old water supply lines you can still install the water valves and just go get supply lines afterwards.
Shut off valves for kitchen sink or shut off valves for bathroom sink or the shut off valve for toilet are all the same.
Water supply line for a toilet is the same diameter as the water supply for your sinks. You do have to get specific water supply lines for toilets though because the end that connects to the toilet is different than the end that connects to the underside of a set of taps.
Checklist for installing PEX water shut off valves:
PEX type valve, crimping rings, PEX crimper, utility knife to cut into existing PEX pipe.
Checklist for installing sweat on valves for copper pipe:
Sweat on valve, copper pipe cutters, copper pipe sand paper, soldering paste, solder, torch.
Checklist for installing compression shut off valves onto copper pipe:
Compression type valve, pipe cutters for copper pipe, copper pipe sand paper, two crescent type wrenches.
Installing water shut off valves is not extremely hard if you have any type of handyman experience. Take your time and think about what you are doing and why you are doing each thing and I am confident you will be able to install shut off valves under your sinks in no time at all.