Sticky main valve, weird water pressure?


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Old 01-17-06, 06:31 PM
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Sticky main valve, weird water pressure?

Yesterday went to my rental to fix a leaky tub faucet in the upstairs unit. No seperate shutoff, so I had to turn water off at the main. The valve at the main was very stiff and hard to turn, but I managed to turn it several times until it would go no more. Except I could still hear water going through. Wound up replacing shower cartridge with water pressure ON

Anyway, afterward, checked the shower and sink, pressure seemed to be fine. Went back into basement, and could not open the water main valve. It would turn about a quarter turn in either direction, but that's all. Oh, and while trying to get it to shut all the way, I stuck a screwdriver in the holes and busted of part of the valve handle. Now I know how those things get busted all the time. Anyway, it seemed like there was pressure, so I left it like that.

Today, both upstairs and downstairs tenants tell me they have uneven water pressure - low at toilet and shower, fine at sinks. What the heck?

Is there a way to get the main valve to work more easily, or will I need to have it replaced? Think I just didnt get it open far enough? Oh, there is a nut in the center of the handle, not a screw like I am used to seeing. What should I try first?
 
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Old 01-17-06, 07:36 PM
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I would say the gate shifted and hung up on one side of the valve body. You will probably have to shut off the water at the street and replace the valve. I would use a ball valve for the replacement. Good luck.
Uneven water pressure issue, no clue.
 
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Old 01-18-06, 02:29 AM
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Unhappy

Originally Posted by reifarmer
both upstairs and downstairs tenants tell me they have uneven water pressure - low at toilet and shower, fine at sinks.
Pressure drop is a function of flow. The valve is restricting to flow to a small diameter. When there is 0 flow, pressure throughout the system is at maximum. When water is used pressure drops rapidly at the pinch point and continues to drop from there to wherever the water is being used.
Sink probably has a 3/8" line and a major restriction at the aerator, so it creates little flow which mean little decrease in pressure.
Toilet draws a high flow and hence a larger drop in pressure.
The solution is to eliminate the impediment to free flow.
Is there a way to get the main valve to work more easily, or will I need to have it replaced?
I would replace it with a quality ball valve (in your case, brass). There is no point in having a main shutoff that does not shut the water off completely and reliably.

You need to stop the water at the meter or shut down the pump. Drain your waterlines below the level of the valve.

You can try to loosen the nut where the valve stem goes in.
Perhaps this will allow you to operate the valve to open it.
You might be able to take it apart and replace worn packing and damaged parts.

A ball valve is fast, easy to use, and pretty reliable.
Ball valves do not restrict the normal flow of water so much as other types.
 
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Old 01-18-06, 12:09 PM
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Thumbs up That makes sense

Thanks for the quick replies, guys.
Just heard from the downstairs tenant who said they tightened the nut on the valve, and used a pliers to turn it open better. Said pressure is now adequate everywhere.
Of course, this is the first valve coming into the house, so I'd have to have water shut off at the street to replace it. And since I don't solder, I'd have to call in a plumber. I'm not sure how much this would cost exactly, guessing a trip charge and about an hour of labor or so??
Probably worth it in the long run, though, since like you said, it's not cool to not be able to shut off the water!
 
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Old 01-18-06, 12:21 PM
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Click on the link below for some info. If you are going to be a landlord, you need to know how to do at least simple pepairs. Get some pipe, fittings, flux, solder and a Bernzomatic torch and practice Good luck.

http://www.doityourself.com/info/h2handlecopper.htm
 
 

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