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Old 11-20-2011, 05:59 PM   #1
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


I need to make a simple repair to my tub faucet. The problem is that my house is 62 years old and the shut-off valves aren't completely shutting off the water. First I tried the small valves on the feed lines under the bathroom. That didn't do the trick. I assume the rubber washers inside the valves are crumbled.

So I shut of the main whole-house valve in the basement and that one wouldn't completely shut off the water either.

So I need to call a plumber to shut off the main valve out by the street and repair the main interior valve that's in the basement. I can do the smaller shutoff valves myself.

So can anyone tell me what to expect as far as cost?

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Old 11-20-2011, 06:20 PM   #2
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Around here it is pretty much $100 for any service person to just knock on your door. Then add time and materials.

And fixing/replacing the valve could be quick and easy. Or a royal pain.

Then service people can be nice or mean...

If he is the nice type, you can do a couple of things to keep the bill down. That is offer him a glass of water and tell him where the restroom is if he needs to use it. Offering freshly baked cookies can help to reduce a bill.

If he is the mean type, yelling at him, telling him he can provide his own glass of water, and saying the restroom is out of order will surely increase the charges. For extra charges, tell him to use the "service entrance" and not use the front door, then make him remove his shoes before entering the house.

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Old 11-20-2011, 07:35 PM   #3
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


A couple of suggestions: If the main valve just allows a trickle through, can you open up a hose bibb outside and let the water run out there? If it is a three handle valve and the repair is on the hot side, can you turn off the water at the water heater?
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:50 PM   #4
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Last time I had one changed by a plumber was $135-- on a copper system---if you have threaded pipe the cost will be higher--I don't know your area so adjust up or down for that---

As to changing valves inside your house--It's definitely something that a person of good mechanical aptitude can do---Mike---
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:48 AM   #5
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Thanks for the responses, and sorry for the delay in getting back. I was occupied with the holiday.

I live in St. Louis if that helps with pricing. Here's a pic of the valve where it enters the house. Does a valve like this use a rubber washer?

If I can get the water coming out of the tub faucet down to a trickle, I might be able to make the repair without shutting off the entire house. I need to replace the cylindrical cartridge that mixes the hot and cold water.

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Old 11-25-2011, 10:45 AM   #6
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Yes that valve probably has a rubber washer in it. I'm not sure about in your area but in many places the water company will turn off the water for you to do repairs for no charge. You should at least call them and discuss the issue. I would normally recommend replacing the shutoff valve with a ball valve but because of where this is installed that would be very difficult.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:02 AM   #7
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


We had the same problem - our shutoff wouldn't shutoff. It cost us about $100 to have someone come in and do it if I'm remembering correctly. I tried to re-pack the valve, but couldn't get it to seal, and couldn't find any replacement parts because it was an odd size. It's a big chunk of change for a "small" job, but worth it for if you ever have to have the water OFF.

You can buy a main shutoff tool at a plumbing store if you want to do it yourself. The shutoffs are usually under a metal cap at/near the road. Our water company shut it off for us at no charge.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:54 AM   #8
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Quote:
I tried to re-pack the valve, but couldn't get it to seal, and couldn't find any replacement parts because it was an odd size.
That's one of the things I'm concerned about. Years ago, my sister asked me to fix her toilet. Before I could fix it, I had to replace the rubber washer in the shutoff directly below the toilet. Because her house was so old I couldn't find the right washer at the local hardware stores. Took me 2 days to find one that fit properly.



Quote:
You can buy a main shutoff tool at a plumbing store if you want to do it yourself.
Thanks, I'll look into that. I was under the impression the tool they use is very expensive, but it looks like I should be able to get one for about 12 to 15 dollars. The shutoff out by the street is overgrown with grass, but I remember roughly where it's at.

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Old 11-25-2011, 12:07 PM   #9
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


It seems like you have two issues:
1 leaky tub valve
2 leaky main shutoff

If you can slow the main water to a trickle, is there anything else you can open up that is below the tub valve, so all the water will go out there. If you get that fixed, then the main shutoff is no big hurry. You can talk with your utility co and maybe they will fix it?
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:34 PM   #10
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


I would put that valve in the category of easy to fix!
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:39 PM   #11
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Honestly, looking at the picture, I would pay someone to do it. Here's why - you have zero margin for error with the supply pipe. If you damage it, you'll have to rip into that wall to repair it. If a plumber damages it, he'll have to take care of repairing it. Just a thought.

My dad just looked at that picture, and suggested putting a new shutoff on the pipe after the non-working one. Then you don't have to mess with the pipe that's coming through the wall. You could also put one after the meter.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:55 PM   #12
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


thats an easy replacement ...most of the time here in pa is getting on the shut off at the street... sometimes i spend 20 min to 1-hour ...that cost alittle more...but average cost should be between 100.00 ---160.00
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:32 PM   #13
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


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Originally Posted by ben's plumbing View Post
thats an easy replacement ...most of the time here in pa is getting on the shut off at the street... sometimes i spend 20 min to 1-hour ...that cost alittle more...but average cost should be between 100.00 ---160.00
I agree with easy. It just looks intimidating.
Basic steps: Turn off curb stop (city might do it for free-mine does)
Remove meter- union nuts both sides. Don't loose the rubber washers
Spin the valve off and replace with new one.
With valve off turn curb stop on and check valve for leak
Remove meter nipple from old valve and install into new valve
Reset meter using caution with the old washers.
Open valve and check for leaks again.
Have a beer
Start to fix tub
Post on diychatroom while having another beer
Finish tub
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:03 AM   #14
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Here's how you can fix the tub without installing a new valve even though you need one. Get it replaced as soon as possible.

In the basement shut the main off and open any other water valves below the point where your working like out side spigots, washer valves, sink in basement etc, etc etc.
Just make sure you open everything to drain then you should be able to make the repair with no problem.
The leaking main valve water will drain out before it reaches where your working.

PS: After a second look at that main valve I think it has a waste drain on it, that little cap on the side open that too after you close it.

Last edited by COLDIRON; 11-26-2011 at 07:06 AM. Reason: changed text
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:25 AM   #15
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Whole-house shut-off valve repair.


Quote:
Originally Posted by broox View Post
If you can slow the main water to a trickle, is there anything else you can open up that is below the tub valve, so all the water will go out there.
There are a couple of faucets (hot and cold) near the washing machine. There's also the spigot outside the house that I can turn on. Hopefully that will reduce the pressure enough that I can repair the tub without messing with the main shut off. Eventually it will have to be taken care of. If I ever have a catastrophic problem, I need to be able to shut off all the water.

Thanks to everyone for all the input.

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