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Replacing main water supply gate valve and adjusting and old pressure regulator

Replacing main water supply gate valve and adjusting and old pressure regulator


Old 07-06-13, 02:02 AM
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Replacing main water supply gate valve and adjusting and old pressure regulator

My water meter is inside a concrete box, and right next to it(downstream) is an old gate valve, and just after the gate valve is a pressure regulator. Today I tried to shut off the water supply to the house (to fix a leak) and discovered that even turned all the way tight (clockwise) the gate valve was still passing water.

So I have to replace the gate valve and I'm not sure how to turn off the water supply. Is this a situation where you always have to call the water company to do that, or is there usually a buried shutoff valve on the other side of the water meter(outside of the concrete box)? I'm in Los Angeles County, California.

The other problem will be adjusting the pressure regulator. I'm up in a canyon, and the supply pressure is high...I just measured 180 psi at a hose faucet outside the house(late at night when pressure is highest). I don't mind the high pressure, but the water heater pressure relief valve is always leaking...I've replaced it three times, so I don't think it's the valve, just that the water pressure is more than it can handle.

The pressure regulator hasn't been touched in the 35 years I've owned this old house. So I'd like some advice about trying to adjust it. It looks like there is a lock nut at the base of the adjusting stem and I wonder if I should loosen it and then try dripping some penetrating oil down the stem before I try turning the stem...and which way (clockwise?) to turn down the pressure?

As an alternative, I could buy another pressure regulator and put it in the pipes just before the water heater...that way I wouldn't have to mess with adjusting (and possibly breaking) the old regulator. Does that seem like a better idea?

Finally, any recommendations for a gate valve. It'll have to handle 300-400psi, not sure that's a standard Home Depot item. Also for a pressure regulator that can cut down the 180 psi at my water heater.

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Old 07-06-13, 04:30 AM
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Sounds like a good question for your water department.
I'd replace the gate with a ball valve. Gates almost always fail to shut off after a few years.
Old 07-06-13, 04:51 AM
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Are you certain the water meter does not contain a shutoff? Most do so the city can turn off the service if you don't pay your bill. If the meter does not have a shutoff then the valve may also be the cities and they should replace it.

If the pressure regulator is your responsibility and not the cities I would install a new one somewere easily accessible where it first enters the house. I would also install another ball type shutoff valve just upstream of it so you have a shutoff you can quickly and easily access if you have a leak in the house.
Old 07-06-13, 06:12 AM
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I agree, I would replace the valve with a ball valve and probably just replace the pressure regulator too. They are adjustable using the screw on top, but if you're showing 180psi, you're way high and it's probably failed. I would replace it soon as your plumbing isn't designed to handle anything over about 90 or 100psi. I believe standard pressure is 80psi.

I would give your water company a call though. Around here, we own everything past the curb stop (the shutoff near the street) except for the meter itself. But in some places, the water company does own the pressure regulator. And since everything is in an underground box, they might replace everything for you. Worth a call regardless!
Old 07-15-13, 06:32 PM
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I found the water meter shutoff, buried just outside of the box. The water company here won't replace anything past the meter, it's my problem. So I went to Home Depot, bought a Wilkins NR3XL pressure reducing valve (rated to 400psi) for $60, and installed it just before the water heater...this way I retain the high pressure in the outside faucets which should be useful since I'm in a brush area with high fire danger sometimes. Installation was straightforward, but had a lot of problem with leaks until I re-did the new connections tighter and tighter with teflon tape. The pressure was reduced from 250+ (that evening) to 50.

Also bought a ball valve rated to 400psi, I'll install it just after the water meter box...so I won't be disturbing the old gate valve or the old pressure regulator.

Thanks for all the suggestions...I have just one more question: is it ok to bury the ball valve or should I protect it (plastic bag??) from the dirt/sand that will cover it.

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