What’s the most frustrating part? Shutting off the water to the whole house (at least in my opinion). Mostly because it goes something like this:
Look for the shutoff valve for the faucet (or toilet, or filter, or whatever it is this time). Realize there isn’t one. Swear under your breath while hunting for the shutoff to the house. Realize it’s been a while since it was tested and it needs a bit of work to actually close. Swear under your breath some more. Swear full voice if you happen to scrape your knuckles. Tromp back to the bathroom with a glare that could cause street gangs to run away, but doesn’t keep your spouse from complaining about mud on your shoes or your knuckles from stinging. Debate taking the time to treat the scrape, decide it’s done bleeding anyway and you’ll get to it in a minute. Open a faucet to drain the lines and wait. Maybe treat your knuckles while you wait after all. Now fix what needs fixing and go back outside to turn the water back on. Now go back inside and turn the faucet back on to get water back in the lines. Notice a leak at a connection. Swear under your breath and turn the faucet back off. Swear extra if it’s not the original problem. Fix it right this time. Turn the water back on. Sigh in relief – you’re done! And you got your aerobic exercise in for the day.
Now if this sounds like fun to you, great, you’re doing just fine and probably weren’t actually swearing. Hopefully you never have to wait two weeks for a special order cartridge while the shower in your only bathroom is leaking like a sieve. Turning off the house water after each shower or paying a huge water bill will probably cause you to swear even if you didn’t before.
But if you’d like to make changing a minor part less of a production, install shutoff valves at every fixture. Most reputable brands offer shower valves with screwdriver stops which let you turn off the water just to the valve while you’re replacing a cartridge, so there’s no other valves needed there. Look for filter housings that come with integral shutoff valves to make changing the cartridges quicker and easier. You can find decorative shutoffs to match almost all finishes in nearly any size for your bathroom and kitchen faucets, as well as your toilet supply line. A classic brass ball valve will also do the trick. There’s even push-fit valves if you don’t want to mess with wrenches or a torch.
If this sounds like a bit of a production in and of itself, you can work on it in steps. The next time you need to fix some plumbing-related thing, just add a shutoff valve or five to your parts list and install them while you’ve got the water off anyway. Eventually it’ll all be taken care of and the only plumbing-related swearing you’ll have to do is when a toddler shoves a rubber ducky down the toilet.