How To Replace Add A Shutoff If The Main No Longer Works. - Remodeling - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:04 PM   #1
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How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


In my current house, I had to add a shut-off valve just above the meter as the main ones around the meter no longer worked. I had no way to shut-off the water to the house and the city couldn't find the street valve as the ground was frozen.

I remember seeing something somewhere, where someone tried to cap off a pipe with the water flowing through it and was unable to do it. From seeing that, I figured out a way to do it.
  1. Remove as much from around the meter as you can.
  2. Close the valves to the water heater and set it to pilot or turn it off.
  3. Remove all the aerators from the sinks and all the shower heads and put them in CLR to soak and remove calcium build up.
  4. Get Several towels and several 5 gallon buckets with towels in the bottom (This will help with splash back)
  5. Get the appropriate cutter for the pipe you have. For copper, I like using a spring loaded one handed cutter that slides around the pipe.
  6. Before you start cutting, make sure you have the push to connect ball valve in the open position. It should be in your hand ready to slide on as quick as you can once the pipe is cut.
  7. If you have a helper (which helps a lot, no pun intended) have them start cutting. Do it slowly to make sure you are not wandering out of the groove.
  8. Make sure that you have marked the correct depth you need to push in the valve the make a good seal.
  9. As soon as you feel the cut is almost through, grab a towel and hold it in your free hand if you have a helper of in your cutting hand, This will help with the deluge of water that is coming.
  10. A lot of things will be happening at once. Water will be spewing out of pipe in one hand, your helper will be screaming, and your are trying to get the ball valve onto the pipe. Just remember it is only water. Cold water that is coming out at 5-7 gallons a minute at ~80 PSI and you are getting drenched.
  11. Making sure the ball valve is open, slip the valve over the edge of the pipe until it is over the opening.
  12. When it is over the opening, push/pull it down so it starts to seat. Once it is seated, close the valve.
  13. Hopefully, you have seated it far enough so that it doesn't leak. Check the line yo drew earlier to see if you are close to it. Don't try and push it down yet as you won't be able to.
  14. If you can't move the other half of the cut pipe enough so that you can slip it into the ball valve cut off an inch or so to allow it to fit. Make sure to mark it for the correct depth of insertion.
  15. Clean up any burrs on the pipe from cutting.
  16. Slide the cut pipe into the ball valve and make sure it is seated fully. DO NOT OPEN THE VALVE YET.
  17. Mop as much water as you can. You need to see if there are any leaks that happen once the valve is opened.
  18. Open up all the cold taps (Don't install the aerators/shower heads yet)
  19. Slowly open up the ball valve checking for leaks. If the downstream side of the pipe wasn't fully seated, now is the time to push down on the valve to seat it fully.
  20. Have your helper check to see if any gunk came out of the pipes and if there is air coming out. If all is ok, close the taps.
  21. Open the closest hot water tap to the water heater, and then open the valves to the water heater but don't turn it on yet. Have your helper watch to see if any air/ gunk comes out of the tap. Check the other hot water tapes.
  22. If all the taps are okay and no water is coming out, you are all set to turn the water heater back on.
  23. Remember the aerators and shower heads you left soaking? Use a tooth brush to scrub them (a vibrating tooth brush works best) and then rinshe them.
  24. Put the aerators back in the faucets checking to see how they work. Replace as needed.
  25. Do the same for the Shower heads. (If you wanted new shower heads, now is the time to replace them.
  26. Congratulations, you did the impossible!! Install a shut-off valve on a pipe where the existing shut-off valve no longer worked and the local water utility wasn't able to shut the water off at the street. And, you didn't have any fancy equipment to freeze the pipe either!!!
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:17 PM   #2
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


Plumbers sometimes use dry ice to freeze the pipe before cutting. That's not something I would want to DIY. If in that situation, I would call a pro.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


KTOWN.... How about making a video of that for us....
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:31 PM   #4
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


And plan B is what if you can't get the valve on the supply pipe? The cutter will leave a burr that needs to be removed before you install the valve.

The valve on the street side of the meter is the water company's responsibility. Get the water company to fix it.

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Old 05-22-2019, 05:34 PM   #5
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


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Old 05-22-2019, 07:44 PM   #6
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
And plan B is what if you can't get the valve on the supply pipe? The cutter will leave a burr that needs to be removed before you install the valve.

The valve on the street side of the meter is the water company's responsibility. Get the water company to fix it.

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Well, first of all. I did several trial runs. And the cutter I used didn't leave much of a burr, if any. So I felt comfortable doing it without taking the time to deburr it.

I took a piece of 3/4" copper and put it on a 3/4" garden hose running full blast. I cut a piece of copper off and Yes, this is where I learned to make sure the valve was open.

As for calling in a plumber, well, up here finding one is nigh impossible. And if you can find one, they are expensive.

I can't stop laughing at the thought of having the water department in to replace the valve. It took them a week to find my curb side shut-off valve.

Making a video? Umm, yeah sure. Are you going to the camera for me? I guess I could make a video of me doing a trial run with the pipe attached to a garden hose. Would that work for you?
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:18 PM   #7
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


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Originally Posted by ktownskier View Post
I guess I could make a video of me doing a trial run with the pipe attached to a garden hose. Would that work for you?

We would rather see the real thing.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:51 PM   #8
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


I have added multiple shutoff valves at my house so I can isolate one section and not affect the rest of the house. Cost is minimal to do this though it is important to bridge the valve with a ground/bond wire with copper pipe.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:26 PM   #9
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


If you had shut your account down, but still were using water, I'd bet the city would have been by real quick and magically found that valve easily then. They would of replaced it too.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:50 AM   #10
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


I have a tool that allows this very thing. Once you make the cut, slide in the tool, turn the handle to expand the plug on the end. That will stop the water flow. This will allow you to solder the ball valve to the copper pipe. You can get this tool at any plumbing supply store. I have also use bread. Clog the pipe with a few slices of bread. This will give you about 3 minutes to solder a ball valve to the copper main. I also have a handle to turn off the main at the city side of the water meter. But there are times when you cannot get to it. You may purchase one of these at any plumbing supply store.


I have never trusted a fitting that slides on and so called locks. That to me will eventually leak after some expansion and contracting. Solder will move with that process.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:26 PM   #11
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


Call the water authority, have them shut it off at the street. It should be accessible now.
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:27 AM   #12
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


Never did anything like it or seen one done. I have zero confidence that I could do something like it. There is also what if? There is always some chance that all the plans of mice and men, right? And fail in this case means a disaster.


Reread your #1 post. Did you do this already?

Last edited by carpdad; 05-25-2019 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:26 PM   #13
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


Quote:
It took them a week to find my curb side shut-off valve.
So now you know where the curb valve is. You should be able to turn the water off there yourself.
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:33 PM   #14
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Re: How to replace add a shutoff if the main no longer works.


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