New water gate valve - can't find shut off

Old 05-12-08, 06:52 AM
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Question New water gate valve - can't find shut off

The main water valve that comes into our house is old, crusty and leaks when we turn it. We would like to replace it so that when we go away for vacation, we can confidently shut off our water. But the water company folks can't seem to find the shutoff near the street. After waterwitching, digging holes and finding rocks, the water guy gave up and said they don't have the drawings for the neighborhood anymore and there might not even be a shut off if it was removed/covered over when our roads were paved.

We were told our choices are to: dig more, shut off the water to 12 neighbors for the repair, or have a plumber "freeze" our pipes right above the work to be done. We aren't too keen on the groundhog expedition (this guy has proven he can only find rocks, and isn't sure there is a shutoff). And we actually like our neighbors. So is this freezing option safe? The plumber we were going to use doesn't do freezing but has a buddy who does (he thinks~inspires confidence). And we don't want a pool in our finished basement. And if the freeze fails, we don't have much confidence in the water company shutting off a gusher very quickly.

Input please??
Old 05-12-08, 07:35 AM
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Does the existing valve close at all? Is it leaking from around the handle? You may just need to tighten the packing nut. If you can get it closed most of the way, you could disconnect the water meter with a bucket under it and install a new valve above the meter. Or you could put a compression valve above the old valve below the meter. If you cannot shut off the water at all then the town will have to work harder to find a shut-off and if there is none "they, at their cost" should be putting in a new one. Did they use an electronic device for finding water lines?

If you think it is just the packing nut I will explain further.

Even if you get a new valve or fix the old valve in the house, you should still make the water dept. find or put a new shut-off out in the yard for emergency reasons.
Old 05-12-08, 08:51 AM
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I had a similar situation. Turned out when my house was connected to the water main in the 1960s, there was no shutoff valve installed. The city put one in for no charge. They even left me a curb key.

As for freeze seals, they are commonly used in industry. You have to know what you're doing, but if done properly they work quite well.

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