Gate Valve closed

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Gibby, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. Gibby

    Gibby New Member

    I need some help. I was fixing a leaky facet so I turned the water off at the outside main. I have a gate valve. After fixing the facet I went to turn the water back on but the handle and stem just spin. They don't stop in either direction. Anyone have any advice.....Of course this happened on Xmas eve and nothing is open today.:(
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    This is common. Your stem has broken, as in this picture

    This diagram shows more detail>

    As you turn the handle, the stem does not move up and is fixed. But is is threaded on the end, so the gate moves up and down on the stem, just as if you were screwing a nut on a bolt.

    If you can turn off the main upstream of the broken valve, you can unscrew the bonnet assemby, and with needlnose pliers can probably reach in and just remove the gate, then screw the bonnet back on. Now you will have water in the house, but should get that valve replaced as soon as possible. Don't count on repairing it, because parts from one brand, or even new vs old, are often not interchangeable. Better to replace it with a ball valve.
  3. construct30

    construct30 New Member

    NorthWest PA
    If that is your main outside valve you will have to contact the water company, there will be no valve you can get to "upstream" of that one.
  4. I've done quite a few of these "live"

    In their replacements but not exactly a fun experience. For some reason the customer always loves to watch when I do it as well.

    I guess they like to see the bath I take for what I'm charging them for. :confused:
  5. construct30

    construct30 New Member

    NorthWest PA
    Rugged why are you still stuck in that chimney? Are they feeding you?
  6. I've been inhaling burning logs for 3 weeks now, the homeowner subjected me to Barry Manilow christmas music and I'm praying for a bowel movement so I slide down the rest of the way so I can beat the crap out of the dvd player.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    I guess they like to see the bath I take for what I'm charging them for.

    I always shut the water off first so I don't take a bath. And my customers tell me what the problem is and tell me to bring the bill into the house when I am finished.
  8. hj, you live in a perfect world

    where everyone can find the curb stop or meter in an emergency.....

    or willing to wait 4 hours in the night for the water district to come with their prodders and accomplish the same as you; not find the main shut off.

    I'll describe for everyone the task:

    No way to shut feed into the home, gate has dropped OR

    Connection has broke before the main shut off inside the home.

    Gotta act fast, gotta act quick, gotta have 3 different sized IPS ball valves on the truck in moments like this....most times you can access a threaded connection in nearly all these scenarios, but not always. I find these situations mostly on older homes, numerous threaded connections whereby a meter has been moved outside and left the jumper or just a transition of numerous fittings where one failed, miserably.

    Pushing a get-swet into a line blowing out water when you get there is nearly impossible.

    A customer in a panic will most times call a plumber in the midst of calling the water district to shut it down.

    What's worse is sometimes when the water district comes to save the day, they can't always shut the water completely off. That forces you to deal with the issue with water flowing.
  9. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Licensed Grump
    On softroll type K, a Ford fitting with ball valve will do it when there's no way to shut down.
    On galvy, a dressr fitting set up with ball valve and be sure to set up friction clamps on either side of the dresser to secure immediately from clamp to clamp to keep pipes from pulling apart once pressurized...this one is stricktly temporary.
    On hard copper a compression stop does it.
    Any of these scenarios means you're wet.
    Real wet.
  10. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Omaha, NE

    How well/how safe are compression stops on hard copper? I thought I had read on this site that compression fittings work well on 1/2" copper for angle stops, but that they are not as secure on larger copper pipe - true or not?

  11. I think he's implying worse case scenario/do anything to get the water back on; whatever it takes, you do it.

    In respect to compression on larger copper pipe?

    Look at just about every compression fitting used on 3/4" on water heaters where the one side is 3/4" copper, the other being 3/4" IPS screwed right into the tank.

    I haven't seen one that didn't leak over time. To what extent it leaked was minimal at best, not exactly causing a whole lot of water loss. It would generally calcify and close up on its own.
  12. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Columbus, OH
    Wow. Sounds like a fun time. I hope nothing like that ever happens in my basement. What a mess!

    I'm going to find my curb stop when I get home. From the curb stop, I've got 83yr old galvanized pipe coming into the house, hangs a 90 to the shutoff valve and then to the meter. Or maybe the shutoff is after the meter. Either way, it'll break some day.

    Anyway to coerce it along to breaking outside and not inside? :)
  13. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Cincinnati OH
    Yes it is called a backhoe.
  14. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    It's emergencies like this that prompted me to have my own meter key. It may not be approved by the city, but there are those occasions that required the water be shut of as quickly as possible, and waiting for the city to get someone there can take forever (at least it seems like forever).
  15. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Columbus, OH
    Good idea, Gary. Where can I get one, or how can I make one?

    I'm tempted to try the curb stop to see if I can actually turn the dang thing, but I'm afraid I could break it and be liable.
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