Help Replacing 1" Main Water Shut Off Valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by DIYER39, May 20, 2013.

  1. DIYER39

    DIYER39 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    First let me say that if I am posting this in the wrong area please let me know and I will be more than happy to move. I would appreciate some guidance on the easiest way to replace my shut off valve. It does not work and it seems to be rusting pretty bad. Ive attached some pictures of everything. Ive done basic home plumbing jobs in the past (replace hose bibs, sweat smaller pipes) but this will definitely be the biggest job Ive attempted and I am not familiar with all the connections in the line. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,360
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Your pictures didn't come through, and your description of the job is pretty vague. I can give you some general information, but there may be other things to consider.
    You have to shut the water off at the water meter. City water departments sometimes do not want customers to have a curb key. There are two ways to deal with that. Their way which is to have there employee come and shut valve and reopen it when the job is finished, or my way which is to obtain your own curb key. I had to have one made by a friendly welder.

    Once the water is off, you have to remove the old valve, but here's where the fun can begin. You say the old valve is rusting and that make me wonder if you have galvanized pipe. If so, you may be opening a can of worms. Galvanized pipe has an approximate life span of 40 years. You may be looking at replacing the entire line from the meter to the house. If that is not immediately necessary, I would install a 1/4 turn ball valve. If you're connecting to copper, then you just sweat the valve on, and praise the Lord you don't have to put a new line in. You do have to the street valve 100% off so the pipe is completely dry. When I did this, if found my street valve seeped a little so I had to devise a way to keep the water out while I soldered. I made a swab from an old towel and fastened it to a heavy wire. I inserted the swab deep into the pipe, put a threaded male adapter over the wire, and sweat the adapter on to the pipe. Then I just pulled the sway out, screwed the valve onto the adapter, and had beer. I had to keep the swab straight so it would come out without jamming. Of course, this was into a 1" copper pipe. Sweating 1" copper isn't that much different than 1/2" or 3/4", clean both pipe and fitting well, flux, apply heat to the fitting until the solder flows. May have to move the torch around the fitting a tad more on 1" than smaller sizes, but same principles apply. Hope that covers your problem.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,130
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would remove the PRV first, and then you will be able to unsolder the shutoff valve and resolder a new one.
    While you are at it, you might also change the PRV. They only last so long.
    The PRV there looks to be installed with unions.
  4. DIYER39

    DIYER39 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    Thank you very much for the reply. Man, I really wish you could have seen the pictures. Without seeing my pictures you did answer a few of my questions though. Please do me another favor and check the pictures again. They should come up fine as I have tested them on two computers, Firefox, IE, and an Ipad.

    I have a few cheap torches that I have been using with no problems over the years and I was worried that I might need something different for a 1" pipe but it sounds like mine should be fine. As far as shutting off water on the sidewalk it should not be a problem. I have done it many times and there is a valve on my side also. Two valves in the sidewalk. I do not have jet swet tools, but like you, Ive been creative in the past. Im pretty sure this is a routine job for a pro and will not require any additional pipe replacement but thank you for the advice anyway. My main problem is just wondering how to go about it in the easiest way. If someone could just check out my pictures Im sure they would be able to give me some helpful guidance. Ive provided some detailed pictures and will post more if needed. The questions I would be asking would be very basic and mostly pertain to taking things apart and how to go about it. Should I cut or sweat off? Do I have to take off elbows, pressure regulator, valve, all together? Is there a way to sweat off one side without bending pipe? Just your basic questions from someone who is not familiar looking at parts like this.
  5. DIYER39

    DIYER39 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    Hey Terry thanks for the reply. Are you saying that all I have to do is unscrew both sides and the PRV will come right off? Then I can start working on the valve? Ive attached a few more pics.

    Attached Files:

  6. DIYER39

    DIYER39 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    Or do I cut one side and spin off the other union? Sorry, I am not very familiar with these connections.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,833
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Unscrew both unions and slide the PRV out. You will have to find a new valve the same length as the existing one because you do not have enough "leeway" to install a longer one.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,360
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Too bad your pictures were not up when I made my reply.
  9. DIYER39

    DIYER39 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    Ya, I figured the pictures would help out a lot. Your advice was very much appreciated Gary thanks :)
  10. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Get your self a new double union Wilkins PRV, and a new 1" ball valve
    turn your house water off at the street and down your whole house
    by opening all your faucet fixtures and out side hose bibs,
    the using two wrenches spin off the two unions and remove the PRV.
    Using a wet/dry vacuum suck any remaining water up out of the bottom
    pipe then you can unsweat your ball valve,
    make up new ball valve with the new union off your new PRV to same dimensions as the old one slip new PRV back between the unions and tighten them then restore water,
    easy pleases
  11. MichaelBukay

    MichaelBukay Plumber

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    I never understand why when the original plumber puts together a setup like this, they don't leave any room for the homeowner or plumber in the future to have an easy go at it. I always try to plumb things so that when someone has to work on it in the future they have an easy go and/or appreciate my work. I can make short work of this, but seriously, they could have maybe lengthened the piping instead of using street 90's to the unions. Maybe they didn't have enough room, i dont know. AND it looks to me like it says 1 1/4" on the regulator. double check, i can't see it from the pictures.
  12. DIYER39

    DIYER39 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    Ill double check the size when I buy the parts. Thank you everyone for the help and good information and thank you Macplumb for the really nice breakdown. Obviously the hardest part will probably be making sure the pipe is dry so I don't waste time. Ive made that mistake before. Fortunately I live next to a couple home improvement stores in case I have to run back and forth. Ill try to post some pictures when I'm done. Might not be pretty guys, but Ill make sure it works.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,833
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That looks like a "J" next to the 1, not a 1/4. The valve appears to be marked 1", however.
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