Replacing main shutoff valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by horseatingweeds, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2018
    Location:
    Detroit
    I have a new home I haven't moved into yet. It has a leaky external spigot with a corroded stem screw. It's soldered to a leaky compression valve. Also, both main shutoffs, cheap 1979 gate valves before and after the meter, also leak a little.

    The city came by today and found that the street shutoff is also bad, leaking even, and plan to replace it in the next few days.

    So, all this leaking has put me in the mood to replace cheap valves with something really nice, like American Nibco ball valves, which brings me to a question. The valve on the street side of the meter, just like the valve on my side of the meter, looks like it's soldered. Does this mean the line coming in the house (through the basement floor) is rigid, or does it mean you can sweat the soft copper line? Or, more specifically, what's the most professional and leak-proof way to connect a valve here?

    Thanks
     
  2. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

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    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    You didn't give enough information.

    You can't do anything involving soldering until the city replaces their shut off valve. Why? you can't solder on a wet copper pipe. It has to be completely dry.

    Main line (from the meter to the house) is usually type L copper (not the soft kind). But it could be other types of metal of PVC. What do you have?

    You mentioned that you want a leak proof way to connect a new shut off valve - Done right, you can have a leak proof main shut off no matter what type of pipe you have.
     
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  4. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds New Member

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    Jul 11, 2018
    Location:
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    The pipe coming in is copper. To me it looks like regular 3/4. Once the valve at the street is fixed, I'll schedule for them to shut it off while I replace the valve. I'm just trying to determine the best method.

    How can I tell what kind of copper the line is?
     
  5. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    Type L copper has blue printing on the pipe every few feet of length. Type M has it in red.

    You will have to solder your new shut off valve in after removing the old valve. Your other option would be to install a shut off valve with 2 female sides with 2 male adapters on either side of the pipe.

    Done right, this is good for years to come.
     
  6. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Occupation:
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    Location:
    Georgia
    Replacing main shutoff valves could be a Jim Dandy franchise trade, since most of them don't work.
     
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
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    New England
    Consider using a full-port ball valve as your shutoff. They will tend to last longer. It's a good idea to cycle it once in awhile.
     
  8. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2018
    Location:
    Detroit
    I plan on replacing them with the best ball valves I can find, or having a plumber do it and make sure he uses premium full-port ball valves.

    With my other house, about 15 years ago I did a full copper re-pipe. For the main shutoff I used the best ball vales I could find (at Home Depot). I actuated the valves several times in the following couple of years, but then close to ten years went by. Recently I tried closing one of them. It was stuck, but after a little force it moved but only to about 80% closed. It feels like there is a lot of scale built up.

    Do you think if I 'exercise' the old ball valve a little it will eventually close? We should invent a reliable shutoff valve. :p
     
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    It might, it might also tear up the seal. You won't know unless you try.

    I live in a townhouse condominium. We have auxilliary booster water pumps for fire fighting and since we're on a hill, to keep the pressure up. Those things have monster shutoffs. They weren't exercised. WE ended up cutting them out. I had a chance to see the inside of the pipe, and there was about 3/4" of hard mineral deposits on the bottom of the pipe. There was no way the valve seal could cut through that. Larger scale than your supply (there were 6" lines!), but the same thing can happen.
     
    MASTERPLUMB777 likes this.
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