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Old 09-06-2015, 03:23 PM   #1
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replacing main water shutoff valve


I've been doing a lot of studying up on this and I "think" I'm ready, but I wanted to run it by other folks to see if there is anything else I need to know about.

What makes this especially concerning for me is that the supply pipe comes up thru my concrete slab foundation - just a copper stub. If I screw this up - I'm in big trouble!

Please look at my photos.
I think you can see why I'm replacing the valve, AND also - why I'm concerned:

replacing main water shutoff valve-pl-9-6-15-072.jpg

replacing main water shutoff valve-pl-9-6-15-070.jpg

replacing main water shutoff valve-pl-9-6-15-071.jpg

This house was built in the 1950s.
As you can see in the bottom close-up of the water supply coming up thru the slab - it looks to be in pretty rough shape.
Maybe i won't know until I pull things apart - but I'm hoping this old copper stub is still workable - will take solder.

I've been doing my homework on this; will use an Apollo ball-valve, 1/2" sweat x sweat; preferably bronze.

I will buy extra materials and practice my soldering skills in advance.
My soldering ability is probably about "average".

I bought a curb-key to shut off water, but I have a hunch that it won't shut off completely - so I've got that to deal with too.

But, my biggest (among several worries) concern is whether or not this old copper stub will take solder. Will I be able to clean it down to good copper?

thanks

Last edited by Clint44; 09-06-2015 at 03:52 PM. Reason: to get images
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Old 09-06-2015, 03:28 PM   #2
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Try this http://www.diychatroom.com/f114/how-...-posts-205921/
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Old 09-06-2015, 04:14 PM   #3
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It might just be leaking from the packing nut. You can try to snug it up a little see if it helps. Just a suggestion.

However it will definitely need to be replaced with a ball valve eventually. Bad thing about old gate valves they never work when you need them to.

I would be more concerned with the pipe from the curb stop to house coming up through your slab that's been buried since 1950. Also don't know if your curb stop will work either.

Best to call your local municilpality and get them involved, some will come out and shut it off for you. Then you and your plumber take it from there.

The blueish green oxidation on the pipe can be cleaned with baking soda, vinegar and tooth brush.

You might consider push on sharkbtye fittings for easy replacement. They need no soldering. I would personally go with solder in this case.

Please wait for the plumbers to respond. They will know the best solution. Thanks.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:20 AM   #4
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thanks Plumber and jmon.

Yes, I think I'm on the right course of action here.

Just a little concerned about the copper stub coming out of my slab.

Looking for anyone with experience with 60 year old copper with some corrosion.
I'm going to cut the copper with an angle grinder - cut-off wheel - on the right side of the valve and then use the valve as a handle to gently lift as I heat the copper elbow and pull it off the copper stub coming out of the slab.

here is a larger view of the copper stub:

flickr.com/photos/accidntl/20575891504
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:05 PM   #5
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Take some sand cloth to it so we can see the condition of the pipe before you do anything.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:36 PM   #6
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Even if you cut the water off at the curb stop I don't think you can get it dry enough to un-solder the old valve. I would cut the valve off, clean up the pipe and use a sweat jet to solder on a male adapter.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:28 PM   #7
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No need to panic here. That pipe should solder up just fine. Take some emery clothe and clean it up really well.

Looks like the valve is shot, I wouldn't even waste time trying to tighten the packing nut or repack, it's just not worth it. Like someone else said, it won't be there when you need it.

Make sure the valve is lead free as well.

If you do need to replace below the slab, it's pretty easy to chip up enough to replace and then a little patch and you are good to go. But I wouldn't worry about it. You'll be just fine.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:06 AM   #8
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closer look at pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostmaker View Post
take some sand cloth to it so we can see the condition of the pipe before you do anything.
replacing main water shutoff valve-pl-9-6-15-081.jpg

replacing main water shutoff valve-pl-9-6-15-080.jpg

replacing main water shutoff valve-pl-9-6-15-082.jpg

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Old 09-09-2015, 12:18 AM   #9
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Jet Swet


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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Even if you cut the water off at the curb stop I don't think you can get it dry enough to un-solder the old valve. I would cut the valve off, clean up the pipe and use a sweat jet to solder on a male adapter.
Thanks for the idea; googled it and it looks like a really good method.

But, it's about 50 bucks for a 3/4" tool - that I would probably never use again.

I've got a hand pump - Mighty Vac which will pull out about 6 oz per pump; slow but if I'm really lucky and the curb key pretty much stops the flow - that might be enough.

I found some fountain pumps that sell for about $18 - might explore using something like that.
Or, even a drill pump for $9 (Lowes).

I'm just try'n to line up all my ducks before I get into this thing.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:22 AM   #10
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Its look'n better all the time


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Originally Posted by ChiTownPro View Post
If you do need to replace below the slab, it's pretty easy to chip up enough to replace and then a little patch and you are good to go. But I wouldn't worry about it. You'll be just fine.
Thanks, I'm starting to feel more confident about this; just got to take it one step at a time (and don't screw up).
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:28 AM   #11
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Just a heads up---in most towns, if you turn off the curb stop and it breaks--you pay to replace it.

If the water department shuts it off and it fails--they pay to replace it.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Just a heads up---in most towns, if you turn off the curb stop and it breaks--you pay to replace it.

If the water department shuts it off and it fails--they pay to replace it.
We aren't allowed to shut it off ourselves. The city has to.

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Old 09-09-2015, 10:52 AM   #13
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If you solder this you will need a hot flame. Propane torch won't get the job done. The concrete will act as a heat sink and pull the heat into the floor.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:03 AM   #14
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City Regs


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike
Just a heads up---in most towns, if you turn off the curb stop and it breaks--you pay to replace it.

If the water department shuts it off and it fails--they pay to replace it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTownPro View Post
We aren't allowed to shut it off ourselves. The city has to.

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That may well be the case where I live too.

But, you know a lot of folks shut off their own water - emergencies (can't wait for city); plumber's come out to do work (not going to sit around on the clock waiting for city worker to show up), and cheap-o DIY guys like me . . . .
I'm just not a fan of City - bureaucratic red tape and excessive charges.

Years ago I tried to repair the existing main shut-off valve (so I know it's shot) and I reached down into the curb hole with my Crescent wrench and couldn't get it to shut off all the way - but enough to attempt replacement of washer (that's when I discovered the valve guts were shot; beyond repair).

I just purchased a curb key from Lowes and I'm hoping it will give me a better, uniform twist on the valve at the curb.
But, yes - I will be careful; I have a fair sense of "over-torque"; calculated risk (if I get it wrong - may cost me big-time).
And I'm anticipating that I won't be able to shut it down completely - so that's why I'm looking at the pump options I mentioned above (while I really like the Jet Swet mentioned too - but the cost, online order and awkward for my fix - 3/4 to 1/2, elbow, etc, but I bet I could make it work).
And, then there is that white-bread stuffed into the tube idea, but that's really last resort.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:00 PM   #15
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We have shut offs before and after the meter. So no need to shut off at the curb.

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