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Nestor_Kelebay 07-20-2008 05:16 PM

Best 1/2 inch water shut off valve.
A friend of mine purchased a condominium this spring and wants to renovate the bathroom in it. He's wanting to replace the water shut off valves first so that he can do the rest of the plumbing with the wate completely shut off, and he's having trouble finding a water shut off valve he likes. The old valves were made by a company called "American Brass Company, which is no longer in business. In this building he's going to have to shut off the water to 3 condominiums while the plumbers install new water shut off valves in his condo bathroom.

I don't want him to go with the valve I recommended, and then find a better one, so I thought I'd cover my behind and see if anyone has any favourites that would fit the bill.

For a variety of reasons, he can't use a ball valve. If you want to know those reasons, see the PS below.

The valve I recommended was the Nibco S-211-Y globe valve. It's meant for either steam or water service, so it has a replaceable teflon disk that's held in place with a stainless steel screw. Also, it has a full graphite packing, (not just a packing gland) all of which are available as parts from Nibco.

In his situation, where you have to shut the water off to 3 condominiums to replace a rubber washer on a valve, I think it's appropriate to use a valve with a teflon disk instead. A teflon disk would outlast a rubber washer cuz rubber eventually rots in water, wheras teflon is completely unaffected by water. Also, I feel that a graphite packing is the best packing you can get on a valve. I'd rather have a full graphite packing than a teflon packing gland because you can replace a full packing without taking the valve out of service. Since the valve spends 99.9% of it's time wide open, I don't think a replaceable seat is a necessity, but if a valve with a replaceable seat in a 1/2 inch sweat format were available, I'd like to make him aware of it.

Any better ideas or recommendations?

PS: Why can't he use a ball valve?
He can't go with a ball valve because there's a concrete block fire separation wall between his bathroom and the condominium hallway. The water supply pipes run inside a stud wall built in front of that concrete block wall, and there's no way that a normal ball valve handle would stick out far enough to clear the drywall. I know you can get extensions for ball valve handles, but such extensions only extend the handle, not the packing, and if there was a leak in the packing it would wreck his downstairs neighbor's ceiling before he became aware of it, and so he's not comfortable with that. He'd prefer to have a valve with the packing nut and handle sticking out in front of the wall behind the toilet so that if there is any water leaks, he'll become aware of them.

Putting a cover over the ball valves isn't feasible either because the valves are located right behind his toilet, and so removing the cover to access the valves inside the wall would be awkward and difficult. So, he's looking for a shut off valve that similar to what he has now. One that can be soldered onto the pipes inside the wall but have both the packing nut and valve handle stick out through the drywall.

majakdragon 07-21-2008 12:32 PM

I would not use globe valves for shut-offs. They are not "full flow" and since they are not used often, they have more chance of clogging with deposits. Globe valves are made for metering or flow regulation. Look in the ends of the valve and you will see a small hole on each end. One on the lower side (inlet) and the opposite end it is on the high side (outlet). Check a Plumbing Supply store for brass valves.

Nestor_Kelebay 07-22-2008 11:04 PM

Thanks for your insights, Majakdragon.

You said: "I would not use globe valves for shut-offs."

The kind of valve he has in his walls now (which he wants to replace) have a rubber washer that moves forward when the handle is turned to block off the water flow through a round brass opening called a "seat".

Wouldn't those valves be considered "globe valves" too?

If so, it seems to me that if those valves lasted over 50 years since the condominium he's living in was built, they're suitable for this application.

majakdragon 07-23-2008 07:49 AM

Since I cannot see the current valve, I don't know what type it is. If you hold a globe valve and look through either end, you will not see anything but the center of the valve. You will not see light.

Alan 07-23-2008 11:06 PM

globe/gate valves are JUNK. We do not even touch them unless the customer insists that we use them to save 5 or 10 bucks. We use whatever ball valves the wholesalers send us. Brass body, stainless ball, teflon seal. Awesome. They will work for a long long time. Globe/gates will not last nearly that long, and you will end up hating them down the road if/when you need to shut them off.


majakdragon 07-24-2008 10:56 AM

If the current valve handle only turns 1/4 turn to open or close, it is a ball valve. Normally, when the (lever type) handle is in line with the pipe, it is on and when across the pipe, it is off. Globe valves are not junk, they are just made for certain applications, but not shut-off purposes.

mstplumber 07-24-2008 04:10 PM

I would go with a gate valve. The only exposure he would have is with the packing leaking. Just tighten the packing nut down after the valve is opened and it should be fine. No offense, Alan.

majakdragon 07-24-2008 05:07 PM

I normally use ball valves for shut-offs unless a customer insists on a gate valve. If so, I place the handle on a 45 degree angle or straight off to the side. This prevents "gunK' from settling in the sealing area of the hate. This is what usually prevents the full closure on them. The gate cannot seal since the surface (a groove in the bottom of the valve) is filled up.

mstplumber 07-25-2008 08:28 AM

Just to be clear, I definitely agree that ball valves are best. Since that isn't an option here, I think gate valves are the next best.

Nestor_Kelebay 07-25-2008 10:29 AM

And, I second the motion that ball valves are best. However, as Mstplumber noticed in my original post, ball valves simply aren't an option here.

I have heard both good things and bad things about gate valves.

The problem I've had with gate valves is that they don't shut off the water flow COMPLETELY. I took apart two gate valves to solder them in as water shut off valves, and then I wasn't able to stop the water flow completely with them; it just kept dripping very slowly. I talked to the sales rep for the company that made the valves (KITZ) and he said it was because I had taken the valves apart. He said that I may have mixed up the cartridges or turned the gate around so that it wasn't exactly the same way it was when the valves were manufactured.

With a soft teflon disk, you always get complete shut off of the water regardless of whether you put cartridge A on valve body B or not.

mstplumber 07-25-2008 11:16 AM

I think you just got bad gate valves or got solder in the gate. I use Nibco brand with no problems and they do shut the water off completely. There is no need to take the valve apart when soldering, there are no rubber parts to melt. Solder the valve with the gate shut to prevent excess solder getting into the gate channel and preventing it from closing all the way. This does create a risk that excess solder could build up on the gate and block the flow but that's pretty rare. Just don't get it hotter than necessary and don't use more solder than you need. A good rule of thumb is 1/2" of solder for a 1/2" joint, 3/4" for a 3/4" and so on. Heat the valve, not the pipe and and soon as the solder flows into the fitting remove both the heat and the solder.

I have installed literally thousands of gate valves with very few problems. And I'm not talking about some sort of expensive model. You can get a perfectly good valve for under $5.

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