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Old 04-22-2011, 09:51 AM   #1
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Try things myself or hire a plumber?


I have a rundown old foreclosure that was winterized. I asked the water company to connect service.

Before they came out, I didn't alter anything. I was hoping to get lucky and not have a leak and be able to do follow the instructions online for dewinterizing, which seem very simple.

They unlocked the meter, and said that the water kept running, so they had to lock it back up. I wasn't there to observe.

Prior to coming out, the lady said this is what they would do. I believe she said if the water main won't stop it, they would shut it back off.

Can I presume I have a leak before the main? Where it's not visible? Since it was winterized, the main should be off, but I never checked. It is very unlikely anyone would change it.

They may charge me for coming out again. I presume they would tell me to hire a plumber. Is it time to hire one, or what should I be doing next? I know nothing about plumbing.

If I hire, is it going to be something like $85 minimum... and probably $30 in parts and that's if I get lucky and they can fix the problem on that visit?

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Old 04-22-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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If it were me, I'd replace the inlet valve first, have them turn it on, then find and repair any leaks from that point.

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Old 04-22-2011, 10:51 AM   #3
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Okay, so unscrew the old water main valve and screw in a new one with pipe joint compound. Then ask them to turn the water on. Right? So you think odds are it's the valve and not before the valve. That would be good.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:53 AM   #4
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Try things myself or hire a plumber?


When I read the post the first thing I think is "How did the city get into the house to turn off the main?"

Here is what I think needs to be done

1- Make sure the Main is off.... If that is open then the water will continue to run till the Water Heater is full.

2-check all faucets and make sure they are closed... again ... open faucets will allow the water to continue to run.

3- You will need to check the Toilet valves... if they are open then the toilet will run till it is full

then the water should be turned on. if everything is turned off in the house you could have either a broken main or you may just need to replace the main valve.

My guess is something is open and the water ran for 10 minutes and instead of flooding your house they turned it off
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:57 AM   #5
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Okay, I will see the hot water heater started to fill, and see if I find anything left on (toilet valves, faucets, main). But it shouldn't be, because of being winterized, but maybe something was forgotten or messed with. If I find something left on, I guess I can take a chance on paying the $25 fee again. If nothing is on, replace the valve and take a chance on having them come out.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:03 AM   #6
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Some homes have shutoffs outside that the utility employees can come and turn on and off.
IF the winterizers left a hot water faucet open, then the water heater would fill, yes..... and the water would keep running, (not good.)
IF the water heater is electric, be SURE to open a hot faucet to allow it to COMPLETELY fill before turning on the power to the unit.
IF the water heater is electric, be SURE the power is off on that breaker BEFORE doing anything else to the heater.

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Old 04-22-2011, 11:17 AM   #7
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Okay, yes it's an electric, and I have the main breaker off, and will keep hot water heater breaker off (until it's completely full and I need it).

I was presuming the main is outside. I will find out.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:13 PM   #8
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I like to say you have 2 mains.... Plumber main and home owner main.

The main that you may be thinking about is at the water meter. In my area the only people that are allowed to touch this would be the employees of the water company or plumbers. This is the valve that allows water to get to your house

Now in my area I have a main valve inside the house. I have never seen one outside because the water pipe must be at least 36 inches underground when it enters the house. So where this pipe enters the house is the actual main valve a home owner should turn off in case of an emergency. If this is open and any other valve is open.... water will run.

Now as far as winterization.... There are many acceptable ways to winterize based on the area you live in. Many plumbers will drain the entire house and then leave the faucets open so that if there is any water leaking through the main it will have a place to go.

Not only that but ou will be amazed how many people try to turn on the water in a house when they are looking at a house.
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:13 PM   #9
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Judging by your lack of action before the water dept. came out and your questions I say hire a plumber. Just my opinion good luck
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by plumberinlaw View Post
Judging by your lack of action before the water dept. came out and your questions I say hire a plumber. Just my opinion good luck

I agree here---someone knowledgeable must be there when the water is turned on-- You don't have the plumbing know how.

The fact that you weren't there when the city came is a red flag.

Winterizing is not a perfect science----failures are to be expected.

I went to a winterized house a few months ago to find that thieves had stolen all the pipes --

Be there when the water is turned on---and have a plumber with you.--Mike--

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