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Can I have a just a single set of shut-off valves (one for hot and one for cold) for two bathrooms upstairs and another for the kitchen/laundry area?

Should each bathroom have its own set?

This is a two story house. Can those shut-offs be on the first floor, directly below the bathrooms, or should they be inside the bathrooms?

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Economizing on faucet and toilet shutoffs sounds like a good idea till you need them. Hunt the valve during a flood isn't an experience I ever want to repeat in my life. –  Fiasco Labs Nov 24 '13 at 5:24
    
I'm not thinking on savings, I was more worried about the distracting nature of them. As you said, have to "hunt a valve" is bad, so they must be plainly visible and conspicuous in the bathroom walls. I would really avoid that if possible, maybe putting the shut-off valves in the floor below. –  Luiz Borges Nov 24 '13 at 11:37
    
Unless its freestanding or wall hung sinks with exposed plumbing, they usually are in the cabinet below the sink. I can see what you mean in those cases. I've seen them mounted behind a wall access panel for those instances. –  Fiasco Labs Nov 25 '13 at 6:20

2 Answers 2

Each water dispensing device should have its own valve. That means one valve for every hot and one for every cold for each fixture or appliance.

If there is a problem (a leak, a malfunctioning unit) this allows you to cut off the problem device without losing functionality of other devices in the system.

For example, if you had a leaking toilet filling valve (inside the tank), you could turn the toilet supply off without losing the cold water in the sink and the tub in that same bathroom. If you had a delay in getting a part or doing a repair, this could be very important.

Having a separate cutoff valve near the dispensing device also allows a fast response to cut off the flow if there is a sudden leak. No running to the basement while the upstairs bathroom floor fills with water.

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Of course, every valve is another potential point of failure (moving parts, seals, etc), so there's something to be said for having fewer valves. In a multi-bathroom household, losing the use of a bathroom because of a leak in the laundry room may not be more than a minor inconvenience. I've never been in a house that has cutoff valves for the shower, shutting off water to the whole house was the only way to shut off the water to the shower - is an individual shower shutoff common? –  Johnny Oct 20 '13 at 19:32
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@Johnny I have an access panel in the partial wall behind my tub/shower with shutoffs and the toilet shutoff, but you are right that showers often have no separate valve, especially if they are in outside walls. –  bib Oct 20 '13 at 21:00
    
My main problem with a shut-off for everything, is that I would have to bring the pipes up to put the shut-off, then bring then down again to move across the bathroom and finally get up again to the fixture (many of my fixtures will come from the ground up). –  Luiz Borges Oct 21 '13 at 1:06

Water shutoffs for every room? I have never seen that—not even in high end hotels. Even my luxury condominium has only one water shutoff per building where some buildings have up to eight units in them.

Unless you are located where the local plumbing code requires a set of shutoffs per room, most assuredly you do not need them.

Certainly they might be convenient from time to time. However it would be challenging to justify them on a cost/benefit basis. You might use them once every five or ten years, but usually shutting off all the water to the building for a few hours does not present any significant hardships (merely some inconvenience).

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You are correct for the literal "shut off valve" that controls supply to a system. From the context and the fact many people don't know the correct technical terms for components, I'm pretty sure he is actually referring to fixture stops, not shut off valves. –  bcworkz Nov 24 '13 at 0:59
    
I'm refering to something like this or that. In Brazil they are normally used just once per bathrooms or kitchens and shut-off the whole room. I don't know if they are really needed for every room, I think they are distracting on the wall and just rarely (if ever) used. –  Luiz Borges Nov 24 '13 at 3:26

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