What kind of valve in my well water line?


I have a valve in the water line from the well to my seasonal cottage. It is about 3' deep and is turned with a very long wrench. Each Spring I turn it a quarter turn, and each Fall another quarter turn. It rotates all the way around, so it can be a quarter turn either direction.
I was told that the turn in the fall was to allow the water line to drain. The turn in the Spring is to run again; if I don't position it properly the water system doesn't hold pressure very long.
It is getting very stiff and I expect I will have to dig it up in the spring and replace it. I can't really picture what kind of valve it would be that allows the pipe to drain in one position, but is open in the other. Anyone know what it is? Maybe some sort of backflow preventer, but not like any I have seen. It is an hour drive to the nearest plumbing supply; I don't really want to dig it up and take it to the store. I would be nice to have one with me when I dig it up.
Thanks.
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Toller wrote:

http://www.sprinkler.com/buy/stop_waste
Scroll down to "Stop and Waste"
You may be better off repairing/lubing what is there rather than disturb any connections.
Jim
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Toller wrote:

Jim is correct. It is a 'stop and waste' Turned one way it opens the line to the house. The other way it blocks the line to the well and connects the line to the house with a small opening allowing the water to drain from the house. If you do replace it, get a 'stop and waste' that has a stop on it. I think all modern ones do. They only allow a 90 degree turn then you have to turn it back 90degrees in the spring. Your slow loss of pressure is due to your free rotation in either direction. Unless you stop it exactly right, it isn't fully closing the small hole. Your plumbing shop can show you one and you can see what I am talking about. Much easier to understand the functions while looking at one.
Harry K
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On the ones pictured, there is a cap over the small opening. When open in normal use, is the small opening closed by the valve? If so, I understand; one position it is open and small opening is closed, the other allows it to drain through the small opening. If not I am confused, as I obviously am not removing the cap when it is 3' underground.
Thanks.
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Toller wrote:

Your understanding is correct as to how it works. Been a long, long time since I saw one of those fittings with the cap. IIRC they are not 'stop and wastes' but will drain whenever the cap is removed. Doesn't sound like the right valve for your use.
Harry K
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Harry K wrote:

It's a "curb stop". They don't have a "cap" and are intended for underground use.
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So, I want a curb stop or a stop and waste?
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Toller wrote:

Curb stop *with* waste.
It's not the kind of thing you'll find at BigBox or even a smallish supply house. Jim
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I think I am good now... If I can just find one on 5 months. Is it reasonable to assume the pipe diameter is the same as where the line eventually comes out of the ground?
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Toller wrote:

Well, the pipe diam coming out is the best clue you have for now. GOOGLE around to find a supplier.
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I believe you indicated that your valve turned continously. I do not think yours then has a "waste" function. These have to be in the correct orientation when "off" to drain the downstream side. If turned off 180 degrees around the drain would not function. A "stop only" type valve often turns continously.
You could install either type unless you want the downstream lines to drain when turned off. If you install a "stop and waste" and do not want the drain function, you just leave the little cap on. If you do want the drain function, you have to put rock and gravel around the valve so there is a space for the water to drain to.
Be aware that the "stop and waste valve" has to be installed in the right direction for the drain to function properly. If you reverse it, the drain will connect to the water intake when turned off instead of to the outlet.
Don Young
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Toller wrote:

Any regular plumber will have them in stock. Just ask for a 'stop and waste' describe what you are using it for and you will get the correct one. Pay attention to the flow arrow cast into it when installing so you have it right.
Harry K
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Speedy Jim wrote:

The ones I saw were regular globe valves. Used to shut the water off (normally to outside spigots. Shut it off, pull the cap and the line to the spigot drains.
Harry K
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