stuck shutoff valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by zeroweek, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. zeroweek

    zeroweek New Member

    Messages:
    2
    newbie here...

    I have a cold water leak that I need to fix but the only shut off valve in the whole house (save for the water heater) is the main shut off valve. I can't turn it and before I break out the big wrench is there any damage that can be done by trying to force this old valve?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes there is. I would shut the water outside and replace the valve.....
  3. zeroweek

    zeroweek New Member

    Messages:
    2
    thanks

    do i need to contact my municipal water provider to shut off the water?
  4. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    valve

    Yes, and if you do they may come and shut the water off at the street and when you are through inside you can call them back to turn it on.

    Call them right away and ask them what there procedure is. I think it varies widely all over the country.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    This is why I advocate homeowners having a curb key to turn their own meter on/off. At least you are not having a flood that you can't stem. Cities usually don't want homeowners messing with the meter valve, but in my opinion, there are circumstances that justify it. When you do get the water off, install a good ball valve.
  6. kubba

    kubba New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hi guys..I have the same issue. The main valve is not moving. I just checked the cost of shutting OFF/ON from my city website it is $110.
    Can I use WD-40 on the faucet thread and see if it helps.
    Thanks..Kubba
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The problem is that it is probably a gate valve, and if the stem breaks, you may be stuck with the gate down ( water off ) and no way to get it open.

    A plumber can replace the valve either using a freeze kit, or a Jomar Add-a-Valve, without turning off the city stop. Either will cost a LOT more than $110.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You can use WD-40, but a better product might be PB Blaster. WD-40 is a lubricant and PB Blaster is a penetrating product. In my previous answer to the original question, I suggested having your own curb key. I stand by that answer, but I would point out that at least some cities do not want their citizens to have them. My city does not charge for this service, but you have to wait for them to come. I think the main problem cities have with DIYers having a curb key is possible damage to the meter. If you were to break their meter, you don't even want to think about the expense to replace it! So use care if you decide to get your own key. I first got my key after the main shut off valve broke completely off of the 1" copper supply line late one Saturday afternoon. It took the city emergency man over 30 minutes to arrive to shut the water off! Meanwhile, my basement was being flooded by a 1" pipe under 90 psi! Later when I had a broken cutoff valve on the irrigation side of my system, I was able to shut the water off while I dug it out and made the repair.
  9. kubba

    kubba New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thank you guys. Any mistake will probably lead to big $ waste.
    I will consider getting a pro man to fix this.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    The place where the valve is frozen is where you cannot spray ANYTHING. It may break as soon as you try to turn it, in which case it will be stuck in the ON position. IF it breaks when you get it shut off, it will not open again so you will not have water until it is replaced.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Many places don't want you to touch that curb stop.
    If it breaks while they turn it, they dig it up and fix it...
    If you break it, you pay them to din it up and fix it...
    I don't know how many truck loads of guys they'll bring in to stand around the hole to watch but really, do you want to be the one footing the bill.
  12. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just a thought...

    I’m probably missing something here on all of the posts here, but here in Phoenix, most of the homes have a gate or ball valve at the house. Then there is a water meter out by the street that has shut off valve in the same box with the meter. I bought a water key at Home Depot that I have had no problem turning off about 99 percent of the homes I work on, (I hate touching the gate valves, so I shut off the water at the meter).
    Zerroweek, have you even tried to turn off the valve at the meter? You will know with just a little bit of force, if it’s going to operate or not.

    Good luck for sure,

    Mike
  13. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    While you have the plumber there and the water is off I suggest that you you cycle all the valves in the house, then check for leaks when the main is back on and before you let him leave. Leaks around the stem and nut can usually be fixed by tightening the packing nut (only enough to stop the leak).

    The reason is that all valves should be cycled at least once/ year to prevent seizing up by corrosion or deposition. This is apparently what happened to both valves that got you to this point. By getting this into your maintenance schedule you might prevent the problem from happening again.
  14. kubba

    kubba New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks guys,
    I turned the main faucet to close it and I put some force and it was turnnign fine until it was hard to move then I checked the water and it was not closed then I put some extra force carfuly then it shuts off. Then I kept on left and right to loosen it and then I left it on. I noticed that you need to turn a bit to open it completly.

    Now I can shut it off so I can fix the other faucet which is not closing at all.It controls the outside faucet for winter time.I asked the guys in home depote and they said I can open it a part and get some washers to fix it.
    Thank you guys..
    Regards.
  15. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Ahh, those oh so helpful Home Depot fellas... :rolleyes:
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