replacing valve while water is on

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Old 05-02-03, 09:35 AM
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replacing valve while water is on

How do you replace a defective cold water shutoff valve without being able to shut off the water,my parents live in a twelve unit condo building with just a main shutoff no individual shutoffs to each unit.
 
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Old 05-02-03, 09:47 AM
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If it were a hot water shut-off, you could just shut off the cold water valve to the water heater, which would cut off all hot water only.
However, the only way to replace a cold water shut-off valve, if there isn't another between it and the meter shut-off, is to shut off the meter.
This will take some advance coordination with the nine other tenants (who also may need to do plumbing work at the same time) for a scheduled condo main cut-off for a set period of time.
It would be a VERY good time to install individual unit shut-off valves, also, so that they all don't face this scenario again.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 05-02-03, 10:17 AM
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thanks for replying but

to make a long story short,the installation of the individual shutoff valves or the coordinated shutoff of the other ELEVEN units is not going to happen.So my question remains is it possible to replace the valve while the water is going.I thought there might be some tricks of the trade,because a few years ago when I worked for a natural gas utility there many times where we would have to replace valves or cap off live gas in emergencies.Of course gas isn't liquid but the pressure could sometimes be greater than water.
 
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Old 05-02-03, 10:26 AM
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You might want to make that short story LONG. No way you're going to replace that valve with the water on unless you are a serious masochist and own some scuba gear.

Why not get all your stuff together and then yank the shutoff on the main? Do it at 3 a.m. with a flashlight if you have to. [Might want to even think about snapping a padlock on it while you work if it has a provision for one; that way even if people ***** it'll at least take them long enough to find bolt cutters for you to get your job done].

My $.02 worth.
 
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Old 05-02-03, 10:39 AM
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You DO NOT want to attempt to put the valve on with the water on... If you cut out the old valve and them somehow try to get the valve on and CANNOT do it, then you are really messed up... I agree with the TOWGUY 100%... Late at night do all the prep work at your end and have the new valve ready to go on... Then go shut the water off at the meter without telling anyone... Put your new valve on and then turn the water back on to the meter... And in an emergency case, you don't have to warn the other tenants if it is not practical...
 
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Old 05-02-03, 10:40 AM
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Sorry about the unit number mixup. 9 or 11. Doesn't matter.
That still doesn't change what the-tow-guy and I are saying.
If you cut a pressurized water line or remove a fitting such as a defective valve, you're going to have a MAJOR flood in very short order. There are no "tricks of the trade" to prevent a flood with this.
True, you can cap off most anything in an emergency (gas, oil, water, etc.), but the damage that could be caused inside a condo from a major flood could create some expensive liablility.
I think that this needs to be brought up in your parents' condo association meeting. It is absurd that one can't repair plumbing by scheduling a brief shut-off.
If everyone is so unreasonable as that, I would do exactly as the-tow-guy is saying...cut it off at the meter in the wee hours, and quickly install a main cut-off valve on your parents' unit only, and then you can repair the defective valve or whatever whenever you want in the future. That's what I would do, if they won't let anyone schedule a planned shut-off.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 05-02-03, 10:50 AM
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Can't he get a plumber with a freeze kit "nitrogen" freeze it, cut the line, install a ball valve and it's done. I work in a commercial building and have had it done live that way. We've even been tempted to buy the unit ourselves.

Call around to some of the plumbing contractors and ask them.
 
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Old 05-02-03, 11:01 AM
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I have looked into those units but they are not to be trusted to hold a line under pressure... Also, if you have even a little water escaping in the house, the pipe will never freeze... They can be used to stop water that keeps seeping in if you have a water problem, but there is no way in the world I would cut a pressurized line with it frozen on one side... The reason is the same... If the ice doesn't hold, you won't know it until you have a flood on your hands... Also, I don't know of a place that rents them, so you would likely have to use a plumber... And for future use, you need to have a way to shut the water off in an emergency so the shut off needs to be added regardless... That's certainly another option to look at though, but I just personally don't think I would trust it...
 
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Old 05-02-03, 11:30 AM
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thanks for all the info guys

I'm going to call the village water dept.and have them step in to get the two warring factions of the condo board to agree on allowing a temporary whole bld. shutoff to get the valve installed.
 
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Old 05-02-03, 11:50 AM
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sjay,
I think you have hit on a real solution. To go one step further, try to get the village water department to require individual shut-offs while you're at it. Can't hurt to go for it.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 05-02-03, 12:34 PM
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Dry Ice will freeze the line, even if there is some "leakage". I've done it a couple of time. If the line is copper you want to "build" the plug before a coupling so it doesn't slide .
 
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