Rusted Stuck Ball Valve Main Shut Off


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Old 10-01-22, 07:19 PM
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Rusted Stuck Ball Valve Main Shut Off

I want to get this rusty water main (3/4") working so I can shut it off. I thought it was pretty rare that ball valves get stuck? (I am trying to turn it clockwise.)

Anyway, I have tried freeing it with the penetrant spray...soaking it several times, and then light some taps with a hammer. Still won't budge, except to make the tap water brown. Also think the faucet aerators are starting to clog, or perhaps the pipes, which I want to avoid.

Questions--What else can I do? How do I avoid getting sediment in the pipes? (All copper, no galvanized.)
Can I use a torch? If so how and what are my limits with that?
Can I try putting like a pipe extension on the valve lever for more leverage?
Thanks!



 
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Old 10-01-22, 07:28 PM
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Does the handle have an arrow on the tip of it? You might be turning it the wrong way.
 
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Old 10-01-22, 07:42 PM
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Yes it has 2 arrows. Facing the valve, at the end of the lever tip, the arrow pointing to left, ccw, says ON, arrow pointing to right, cw, says OFF.
 
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Old 10-02-22, 06:16 AM
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If the valve hasnt been used in a long time the corrosion/deposits build up on the inside so not much you can do but replace.

I try to get to all my valves a couple times per year, especially the plastic ones.
 
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Old 10-02-22, 08:21 AM
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For additional leverage you can remove the nut that holds on the handle and use a longer wrench to turn the square/rectangular stub. This also would ensure any rust involved between the handle and the valve is removed from the equation. Note that this increases the risk of shearing off the stub if too much force is applied. I don't think you could heat it enough with water in it to take any advantage of that property. If all copper and you are seeing rust then it's the interior ball valve itself that has corroded (copper doesn't rust) in which case replacement is the best option.

Regarding which direction to turn it; many ball valves actually have a stop which prevents a part (a tang) of the metal handle from turning past. Look to see if it is there and ensure the arrow directions correspond with the available travel of that tang.
 
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Old 10-02-22, 01:04 PM
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You can see the tangs here. My suggestion would be to replace it with an easy to install Sharkbite like this for less than $30.

 
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Old 10-02-22, 02:16 PM
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I'd gladly replace it, except I'd prefer not to go through the complication of shutting street water off, affecting neighbors....etc. Never saw a shark bite on a water main. Is that reliable enough?

FYI there is an old gate valve below this ball valve, but I trust that even less to be reliable
 

Last edited by Gen; 10-02-22 at 02:37 PM.
  #8  
Old 10-02-22, 03:35 PM
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I have a Sharkbite ball valve on my main water supply. It's probably at least 20 years old. They are reliable when installed properly. Do you have a water main shut off outside the house? When you say you have a gate valve "below" the ball valve is it upstream of the ball valve?

Most homes on municipal water have a valve somewhere between the home and the water main on the street.
 
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Old 10-02-22, 05:24 PM
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The gate valve is first at the water entry from the street. Then the ball valve. Just thinking that my reliable chances working the gate valve are slim, no? I've see instances where they don't work, or get stuck closed, leak like crazy...etc. It appears very old, and not healthy. I can send a pic?
 
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Old 10-02-22, 10:51 PM
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affecting neighbors
Wont effect them, all in all a simple hour repair, get rid of both valves!

Personally I won't use shark bite fitting, why take the risk, just solder a new one in and be done.
 
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Old 10-03-22, 06:46 AM
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According to the Sharkbite website 1.5 million SharkBite fittings are installed every week. They have a 25 year warranty. If they were unreliable the word would be getting out.

Unlike a soldered joint they take minimal time and skill for a DIYer to install correctly. They take no special skills or tools. They are compatible with most residential piping.materials. They can be installed with water flowing. They can be removed easily. There is no chance of starting a fire when installing a SharkBite. Even though the fittings are costlier than sweated there is no need to spend 50 bucks on a MAP torch for just a one off repair.

The SharkBite ball valve is perfect for the OP's application..
 
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Old 10-03-22, 06:50 AM
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spend 50 bucks on a MAP torch for just a one off repair.
I use my MAP gas all the time.

I wonder how many millions, probably billions, of old school soldered joints are out they, they are the tried and true way to go!

Just depends on how well you want to sleep at night,
 
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Old 10-03-22, 06:53 AM
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I agree that gate valves can be problematic. They are prone to seizing over time especially if they are never cycled. I replaced every gate valve in my house with ball valves except one. That is the one where the water line enters the basement. Every fall and spring I close/open the ball valves that feed my hose bibs. When I do that I try to remember to operate the gate valve.
I would try closing it to see if it's operating. If it is that would make replacing the ball valve a lot easier.
 
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Old 10-05-22, 07:47 PM
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Fixed it, without replacement. Was rust seized and encrusted between back of handle and valve body. See depicted, after I loosened it. Penetrant wouldn't touch it.

Had to wedge it off by banging a thin screwdriver between the 2. Small cost versus replacing... plumber, permit, neighbor water outage and all the time/hassle involved.

 
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Old 10-05-22, 08:05 PM
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You'd think they'd have a nylon washer behind there.
 
 

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