Best valve for main water shut off

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Hi All,
I need to replace the valve that serves as the main shutoff for all water entering my house. The handle broke off of the ancient one. Since they are not too expensive, I'd like to put in the best possible replacement.
I was considering a ball valve with a sturdy handle. I like having a big handle that only needs to turn 90 degrees rather than the multi-turn gate valve that it is replacing.
Is there a reason not to use that type or is another type preferred?
Thanks,
Greg
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I like ball valves because they do not restrict flow. I think gate valves have this feature as well but will require more turns. I no of no reason not to use a ball valve for your application and have done so myself. I am no plumber though so take my free advice for what its worth.

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Use a ball valve but they are brass if you have galvanised incomming and piping a dialectric is needed or it will be leaking in a few years.
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m Ransley wrote:

-G
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Good catch - I assumed copper there are dialectric unions available to transition galv to copper but are there galvanized ball valves? I wouldn't think it would be worth using tow of these unions just to put in a copper/brass ball valve.

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Brikp wrote:

I agree.
-G
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<< a dialectric is needed >>
Watch out here as you may interrupt some critical electrical grounding functions. With a dielectric union it may be appropriate to install a water meter type bypass cable. Cheers.
Joe
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Ball valves for everything. You will never be sorry. Like you said they are not all that expensive. If you can get the water drained from the area it is a pretty easy install. Use a plastic tube to pull the water out of the supply side. Get the water down a foot, makes sweating much easier.
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SQ - Can you describe this trick more? Have you ever used the "Bread" trick? I am told that white bread works best for this although I have never needed to use it. I have used a shop vac to ensure all the residual water is clear from a pipe before soldering. If you don't do something sweating pipes is near impossible if there is some water left.

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wrote:

Stick a plastic tube down the pipe and suck on it like a straw or use it like a dip tube. Stick it in the water, cover the other end with your finger and pull it out.
MAPP gas will help your soldering, and bread works well too. White bread seals better and doesn't leave residual grains to clog strainers.
Jeff
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Greg wrote:

Later in the thread you stated that the service is galv iron. Based on loads of experience, I have reason to believe that you won't get the old valve out without destroying the galv pipe.
Lots of maybees in there, but I offer this as a caution so you don't wind up for days with no water...
Jim
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Speedy Jim wrote:

Yes, this has occurred to me. As much as it pains me to crack open my wallet for such a "simple" job, I've been considering calling a pro. The consequences of a screw up could be extremely inconvenient.
-Greg
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Actually, a pro warned me that the galvanized pipe could break they could not guarantee it would not and quoted a price for running new pipe if it did break. I chose to buy a key to shut off the water at the city main $5 solution instead of a potential $1000 solution if the pipe broke
Roland
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My vote is to use a ball valve, but I am no plumber. This is just based on what I was told at a plumbing supply house recently. They said, "no one uses gate valves anymore".
I'd get one with a waste port (or whatever it's called) so you can drain the whole system if you ever need to.
I am curious -- what is a "dielectric"?

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Ron26 wrote:

It is an insulator that prevents galvanic corrosion that occurs when dissimiliar metals come in contact.
-G
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Thanks.
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Keeps different metal pipes from electrically connecting. See link below.
http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/plumbing/systems/components/union_de/intro.htm
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Thanks for the link. That explains it.
As someone else said, I think it would be important to add a bypass grounding wire across dielectric unions.

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I'm no plumber either and I vote for ball valves. But somebody must be using gate valves, since the stores all carry lots of them.
Ron26 wrote:

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Off topic but...,
that reminds me of a Yogi-ism (a Yogi Berra quote).
When someone suggested a place to go eat, he said, "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."
Here's a link that I just found to some other Yogi Berra quotes:
http://rinkworks.com/said/yogiberra.shtml
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