Help! I can't find the water shut off valve.

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  #1  
Old 04-17-12, 10:49 AM
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Help! I can't find the water shut off valve.

I am doing a total renovation. Plumbing work will need to be done for kitchen and bathroom.

Here is my dilemma. I own an apt condo and I cannot find the individual water shut-off valve for my apt unit. There is a shut-off valve at the street, but that would turn off water to the ENTIRE apartment complex, and I would have some very angry neighbors to deal with.

What do I do? I have looked everywhere outside my apt unit for my apt shut-off valve. It may have been buried under dirt in the past decade or two.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 10:56 AM
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Are you sure there is a shut off? Have you asked the neighbors or the condo handyman?
 
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Old 04-17-12, 11:09 AM
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Yeah, you may not have an individual one.

I'd start talking to the neighbors - you're going to have to anyway if there isn't an individual valve
 
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Old 04-17-12, 12:21 PM
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Yeah, I'm pretty sure each apt unit has an individual water shut-off valve. Other owners have found their own shut-off valves. We have a condo homeowner's association, but they are just useless and don't have any info on water-shut off valves for this complex.

Is there anything I can do? Would the City Water Dept know where the valves are?
 
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Old 04-17-12, 01:07 PM
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Where did the other owners find their valves?

If you don't have one, maybe you should shut off the building's water only to get yours installed then do the work you've proposed after that.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 01:42 PM
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A few hints....under any bathroom sinks, kitchen sink, behind washer/dryer. The handles will look like an outside hose bibb. Slightly larger than a sink cutoff valve handle. If you see 3 handles...you probably found it.

All 3 of my last residences had the in house shutoff under the sink in the 1/2 bath. All were the ones closest to the center of the house and the water main. 2 actually worked.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 03:18 PM
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I have also seen them behind a panel in the garage. In one case it was a steel plate screwed to the sheet rock and the cut off was in the wall underneath the plate.

Were the neighbors' cutoffs outside or inside? Do the bathrooms and kitchen share a wall?
 
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Old 04-17-12, 03:40 PM
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Thanks everyone. I still haven't found the apt shut-off valve yet, but I do have a couple clues that might help.

The neighbors who have found their valves found them directly outside their own apt units, under a bit of dirt. I poked around outside for a long time and couldn't find mine. The kitchen and bathroom do share a wall thankfully. And there are fixture shut-off valves for the kitchen sink and bathroom sink.

Is this renovation going to be a huge disaster? I am also getting rid of the huge 60 gallon water heater to replace with an new fancy electric heater. I have a bad feeling about having a water emergency if I don't find my apt's water shut-off valve.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 04:31 PM
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The kitchen and bathroom do share a wall thankfully. And there are fixture shut-off valves for the kitchen sink and bathroom sink.
Extend a line to the outside from that wall and dig a trench perpendicular to it extending 3 feet on either side of the line and see if you find the water pipe. Then if you find the pipe track it back to the valve.

Suggestion, if/when you find the valve install a sprinkler valve box around it.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 05:27 PM
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If its a key in the ground and its buried, a ferrous iron detector should locate it. Call the municipality. They may locate at no charge.

You could call a plumber, but they may charge a fee or a minimum service charge.

Now where I found them condos in the homes are many various places.

1. Deep inside the understairs closet. Usually these are deep closets and homeowners have so much stuff in them they never knew they where there.

2. I found 4 valves in a downstairs condo that was kind of central to the other units. Inside a access panel in his bedroom was the valves for the other 3 condos for that group. ( very odd but true)

4. Directly outside near where you walk in. Usually in a landscape bed.

5. Usually by the water heater or utility room. Sometimes just a valve handle sticking out of a wall. Look under all sinks. ( This was stated already)

Good luck.

Mike NJ
 
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