Main Valve wont completely close. HELP


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Old 08-01-06, 11:59 AM
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Main Valve wont completely close. HELP

The main shutoff water valve in my basement will not completely close. I have a water pipe very close to it that has sprung a small leak and I need to replace a piece of 3/4 copper using a couple of those solder on splices. But with water running through the pipe there is no way I can get the solder to flow. Got any ideas???????????????
 
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Old 08-01-06, 02:24 PM
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OK I think I need to get the water shut off at the street before I can fix this once and for all. In the meantime can I just splice in a section of reinforced plastic or rubber tubing and secure each end with a pair of hose clamps on end? Do you think this might work for a week or two?
 
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Old 08-01-06, 02:31 PM
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Assuming that you are on a municipal water system and not a well you will need to shut off the water at the meter. Depending on your local supplier this may be a 1/4 turn valve just ahead of the meter or a valve under a metal cover (usually round) somewhere between the meter and the far side of your street. It is usually immediately before the meter and in the same box as the meter, assuming your meter is not inside the house. It may be somewhat buried so you may have to dig a bit.

You may be able to simply use an adjustable wrench on a flat portion above the valve or if you are really unlucky the valve will have a five-sided tapering cone-like place that no ordinary wrench (or even a vise-grips) will be able to get a decent grab onto. If you do have this type of valve then you will need the special wrench to open and close the valve. The wrench may be available at a good hardware store or possibly a home center. The valve may not have been moved in ages (you didn't state how old your house is) and it will take a bit of muscle to move it.

If you don't want to call a plumber but still want to fix the leak, along with replacing the leaking main valve (I suggest a ball valve) then you may want to call your water utility to shut off the valve before the meter. They will likely charge you for both turning it off and then later turning it on but if they break it they have to fix it.


Rather than use a piece of tubing or hose I would suggest a temporary repair clamp available at the hardware store or home center. This is a stainless steel band, lined with rubber that has special bolts to clamp the whole thing tight. If it is a small (pinhole) leak then a stainless steel hose clamp with a piece of rubber directly over the hole (single clamp directly over the hole) may work.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 04:17 PM
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Thanks for the info. Yes I am on a city water line and the house is 50 years old. Yes I tried using a pipe wrench on the shutoff handle but still it would not completely close. I didnt want to torque it too much as to snap it. The pin hole is at a 90 degree union so the quick fix will not work.
Any other ideas?
 
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Old 08-01-06, 04:52 PM
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Many tight windings of electrical tape...until you do the job right.
 
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Old 08-04-06, 08:10 AM
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How closed can you get your current valve? If it's almost all the way closed, I would close it as much as possible, get a second valve that's connected through compression fittings, and try to put it in line right after your existing valve. Then you can leave the old one open all the time, and close the new one when you need to.

Of course, this is assuming that everything goes perfectly during the job. If you are missing a part or if something goes wrong, you'll have quite a problem on your hands...
 
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Old 08-10-06, 02:18 PM
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All is now well. The city shut the water off at the street at no additional charge to me. The plumber replaced the 35 year old gate valves with the newer ball valves. It took him about an hour and 15 mins to complete the job. The cost was $230 which included parts and labor. I think it was a fair price.
 
 

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