Replacing main water shut off valve

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I called out a plumber today to replace our main water shut off valve. It is located outside of the house and in plain sight and with very easy access. The old one is a 3/4" ball valve, and by all appearance the job for a professional shouldn't take more than one hour. Question: Should a "normal" day plumbing job described above cost $265.00 plus the cost of the valve? I refused to hire the plumber, because I thought I figured high thinking the bill would be $75.00. What do You think?
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On Sat, 26 May 2007 16:59:54 -0700, ken wrote:

You're a cheapskate.
Most plumbers won't even start the truck engine for less than a 100 bucks up front. Or you could do it yourself since it's in plain sight and has very easy access.
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Meat Plow wrote:

Hi, If it is easy to get at the street side shut off in the ground. Sht it off, and next is EASY.
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You're no cheapskate, just a person who'll let the plumber know that the price they want is too much for your comfort level. But I'd bet you could do it yourself... Tom
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What do I think? I think you have no idea what is involved.
He has to shut the water off before the valve. He may have to have the city come out and turn it off and pay a fee for that. He has the responsibility if something goes wrong. He has liability insurance, medical insurance, a truck, I don't know if $265 is a bit high because I can't see it exactly, but I do know that about $150 is the minimum for a job like that in most locations no matter how simple it seems to you.
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ken wrote:

It should cost whatever the minimum service call is, plus the rental for the pipe freezer. Or if it's where spilling 100 gallons or so of water won't make a difference, and the old valve is threaded rather than soldered he might replace it without shutting it off. (unscrew the old valve, have the new gate or full-flow ball valve fully open, screw it on and then shut it off, then finish tightening.)
I figure $100 plus the cost of the valve, but maybe service calls are over $200 for the first half hour where you live...
You could do the job yourself with dry ice and acetone if you are really brave (freeze the pipe about 6" up from the valve.) Even though I knew how to do it, I paid a plumber about $85 to replace the main shutoff in my basement a few years ago -- I didn't have a backup plan if something went wrong, and the plumber either had a plan or had insurance.
Bob
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Interesting, you know the dry ice trick too.
I once had a 3K estimate from a plumber for fixing a main shutoff. This was back in the 70s where 3K was quite a bit of money. The 3K was mostly to pay the city to dig up the main and turn it off.
A friend showed me how to do the job with a few dollars worth of dry ice. I already had the replacement valve. Pretty interesting how the dry ice stopped a pretty substantial water flow in a minute or so.
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On Sat, 26 May 2007 22:45:04 -0400, Dan Espen

Wow, that's fantastic. I almost wish mine were broken so I could try it. I will bear it in mind (although before I do it, I'll find out where the acetone comes in. :) )
Although there is a valve under a lid in the sidewalk where I live now. It has to be easy because my HOA plans to do it to everyone who owes money! :)
Hmmm, it's 31 days from the meeting. The letters probably went out within a week of the meeting, so the deadline is in about 6 days! Which carries over to Monday, June 4th.
I can't ask if the landlord paid the HOA bill, or they'll get suspicious. But I did leave the tenant a note about 3 weeks ago. All the houses are the same, but his house looks verrry nice. Nice door, nice storm door, nice fence, etc. (After having my friend call him on the number listed for his address, but they probably switched to cell phones.)
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mm wrote:

The acetone is a carrier for the dry ice (I think dry ice actually dissolves in acetone), to increase the thermal contact with the pipe. The dry ice cools the acetone down to about -70, and the acetone cools the pipe. Denatured alcohol or "E85" gasoline would also probably work.
Bob
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On Sun, 27 May 2007 02:35:56 -0400, mm wrote:

In that case the HOA will be owing money. Shutting off a public utility around here would take damn near an act of God. Even when you have not paid. Thats a pretty easy lawsuit.
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I've heard about dry ice, but not yet tried it. Use with plenty of ventilation. Dry ice gives off carbon dioxide. Uh, well, unless you want to remind me the obvious. Dry ice *IS* carbon dioxide. well, whack me in the head for the obvious.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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Holy crap, the cure for global warming is here. Just make all the carbon dioxide into dry ice and store it in the desert.
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Actually the job I did required a block about 6x6x6 inches. Nowhere near enough to cause a problem. The acetone wasn't necessary either.
As for the danger, I once went to a party where they decided they wanted the smoke effect that dry ice can create. They had 2 blocks of dry ice about 3ft by 2ft by 1 ft. One they broke up and put in tubs of water around the house, the other they put upstairs in the bathtub full of water.
There was smoke everywhere including running down the stairs from the bathroom. Pretty interesting effect.
After about 10 minutes everyone started breathing real fast. Fortunately, it was pretty obvious what was going on. We opened the front door and the party went on.
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On Mon, 28 May 2007 10:14:26 -0400, Dan Espen

We're an amazing system. It seems it's not the absence of oxygen that makes people breathe fast but the presence of extra C02. There's more than one way to skin a cat.

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On Sun, 27 May 2007 22:42:30 -0400, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Humans also give off Carbon Dioxide. Use them with adequate ventilition as well...
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Interesting replys... CIty main has easy shut off at meter (takes seconds to shut off) Pipe is threaded and would take only minutes to remove. Cheapscate? Okay I will buy it, If you tell me that it's normal practice to charge a homeowner to replace a $3-valve sith no incumbrances that requires 10-turns with a pipe wrench to take off the old one and ten turns with the same wrench to put on the new one, check for leaks, fill out an invoice costs. If the normal cost for that service is $265.00, please tell me... I live in Riverside, not Beverly Hills.
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Given that it is that simple, buy a pipe wrench, Teflon tape, and do it yourself. Any plumber will be over $100 so you can save about $80 of that, minimum.
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I have lost a lot of respect for you. You post without any where near complete information. And then after we on the group do our best, you give us a few more drips and drabs of information.
Fix the stupid thing yourself, and stop trolling.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
  Click to see the full signature.
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A friend of mine recently had about $1000 worth of plumbing work done on an old house he inherited. His plumber told him an interesting method for avoiding getting overcharged. When the plumber is having work done on his own home, and needs to hire someone, such as an electrician, he'll call 4 or 5 to get estimates--and schedule the estimates all at the same time.
That weeds out most of the overchargers right away--when they get there and see the trucks from their competitors that they know do not overcharge, they usually just turn around and leave, without even bothering to submit an estimate. They are depending on homeowners who have an inflated expectation of what the job is going to cost and will go with the first estimate they get that comes in at or below that.
--
--Tim Smith

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Finally fixed the drain by emptying it with the shop vac and doing an all night Draino assault on the thing. (Messy stuff but it worked....this time)
Thanks to all that replied.
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