I tried turning my main water shut-off valve completely in clockwise (maybe
2 complete revs) to turn the water off. I tried it on 2 separate occasions
recently. I then opened all the taps and flushed the 2 toilets on both the
main and basement levels. I did nothing to the natural gas water heater
close by. It has no separate water out shut-off, and I saw no reason to
unplug it (built in exhaust fan) or turn off the gas.
Both times the water ran on at the lowest open tap. I ran it for an hour or
more. It is enough permanent leaking to fill up a cup in less than a
minute. I believe it was cool water, if not cold.
The valve with the std. handle wheel I am talking about is just before the
water meter coming up through the concrete foundation slab at the front of
the house. The valve assembly is attached to the pipe and at meter with a
hex threading similar to a gas fitting like the gas lines nearby. Hex on
both ends, and also at the valve stem. Some 4" long or so, flower bulb
Is there any chance that the valve may not be broken? Do I need to do
something else to get the water to stop completely? I recently painted
around the pipes, and there is a out-jutting thingy at right angles that may
be an air-release or something I don't know about that I painted over with
white rust paint.
I've been reading about these things on the web and I may need to dig up my
lawn, buy a wrench, call a plumber who may need to freeze the line, or
other. Anyone add any help as to what/who/how much I'm looking at?
I'm in Toronto, ON.
I recently had the same problem at my own house. 90 year old shut off
valve wouldn't shut off. I "solved" the problem by adding a valve
just downstream of the water meter, so I could shut the water off
completely to my house. The water meter had a compression type
fitting, so it was possible to pull this off even with water leaking
out of it. The other solution is to shut off the water to your whole
house at the street. Your city water dept should be able to help you
find the valve. Then you need what is called a "street key" to turn
the valve closed (might have to have a licensed plumber to do this).
I cannot picture what you did, could you expand slightly please - how much
was your leaking?
I actually have to fix 2 lines (hot and cold) at the elbows, including maybe
4" either side. So I need 4 cuts. I am thinking I I could solder up some
angles beforehand and I could use 5/8" compression fittings on the 4 ends,
but don't know with all this water and I don't know if I can use a
spin-cutter, &/or dremel, &/or 4-1/2" grinding wheel, &/or hack saw blade
considering access. At a cup in less then a minute, that could quickly be a
I have never used a compression fitting, and do not know how smooth,
straight the ends need to be (i.e. if cut shove a rasp in it, done is
enough), nor if I can do a good job with water leaking through it at the
time. Is there any reason to suspect this doesn't always go as planned?
PS more info on original problem please. I know this situation isn't good.
There is no room for anything other than the meter and its' fittings in the
short horizontal run before it turns into a 1" or 3/4" vertical run that
breaks off to the water heater. The vertical up from the foundation has the
current (leaking?) valve, and theres no room there. So I would need to
install a compression valve in the (3/4"?) horizontal run, and would not as
you say, need to disconnect the meter I guess. Wondering what you did
I just noticed something. There is a shut off valve in the run between the
main water supply and the water heater. It is after the meter, which is
also after the current shut-off valve. Is it possible there is pressure in
the hot water tank driving cool water to the pipes thirty/fifty feet of run
DO I need to shut water valve into the hot water heater off?
I am still concerned about the main topic, but now I am also interested in
how a man is to locate his own shut-off valve in his/her lawn. Is it that
round steel thing about 4" in Dia that has a square (approx 1") in the
center that sometimes is visible. I didn't know what those were, and I
can't say I've even seen one in my lawn. How do I find mine? Is it at
right angles to the lines inside at the foundation. How close/far to
sidewalk or other reference (same as others on street?) I think I can
imagine what the wrench looks like: (<>)==. If I were to locate a wrench
and my valve in the lawn, and since I don't have one working inside, is it a
hanging offense to use it as the (capable) homeOwner?
It should be a simple fix.
Go out to the water meter and shut it off there. Go back inside,
pull the leaking valve apart, put in a new washer and that Should
fix it. If the seat is roughed up, you may need a seat buffer
but I doubt it.
The guy at HD just told me that the metal 4" Dia with the 1" square is not
the valve, or at least is not the thing to turn to shut it off. Or maybe he
was trying to tell me the valve is lower in the ground- ? you get the
picture - Besides the 2 feet of snow, and the fact I don't know where it is,
is this (the 1" square in the center) the thing to turn, and which way, and
I have read your questions and responses.
I cannot figure out what you are trying describe. Often,
residential water services have a pressure regulator before or
after the meter: here are some sample pictures:
There are only a few kind of valves, perhaps you can find a
picture of one as an example:
Ball valves are relatively recent (probably not what you have, but
what you should use to replace existing) these come in plastic
Gate and globe valves (most likely for you to have):
When these get old, very often you can close them one last time,
or not quite completely, but the stem breaks and you can never
open it fully again. The only solution is replacement.
OS&Y valves:- not likely on residential
Butterfly valves - not likely on a residential installation
Your municipality should be involved and responsible for shutting
down your service ahead of the metering device. You should have
all of your repair/replace parts ready to go and they may insist
on only working with a licensed plumber. Any water usage in the
house higher than the area you are working on can continue to send
water to lower areas. It can be surprising how much water is in
the pipes of a multistory. The best solution is to open several
valves above to let the residual water out ASAP. Fairly unlikely
to be sending water backwards from the hot water tank, but it sure
won't hurt to close the isolation valve UNLESS it is an old gate
valve and you break the stem, this is not a trivial issue,
consider changing out to a ball valve while you have the system
down. It is probably safer to turn down or off the heat to
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
I know you're doing your best to describe a situation unfamiliar to
you but it's really hard for us to tell what's going on (for sure)
Any chance of posting some pictures?
If the valve is upstream of the meter it is usually the water
utilities problem (at least in the US)
My guess is that the "thingy' with the knurled knob is a back flow
My water comes up in the basement floor, then a valve, then a short
horizontal run to the meter, and then goes up from there. I unscrewed
it from the downstream end of the meter, let 'er leak for awhile,
while I installed a ball valve in the vertical section.
Sounds like a very similar situation. If you were leaking at the time, I
can understand that if the ball valve you installed was compression fitted,
but why would the meter having pressure fittings be of value? It may not
matter, and if I were to do the same thing (I haven't done a pressure
fitting before and don't know what kind of edge and mainicuring would be
needed, or even if its a good seal anyways) I 'd just have to deal with the
leak (maybe a bucket in the time I'd finish, cut out a section of the
Vertical (3/4" is it), and coerce in a ball valve. Does this sound
familiar? In my ramblings I am just asssuming that any fitting with a hex
on the ends is a "pressure fitting", and similar in nature to the type I
have been considering for the actual repair I am trying to get to 50' of run
away. Before my meter however, everything seems to be pipe-thread fitted,
but with hex connectors, is some taper pressure fit I guess.
If you are just shutting off water to fix a leaky faucet or whatever, you
should be able to shut the water off as much as you can and still fix the
faucet. Another trick is to turn on all other water faucets while fixing the
If you need to have the water completely shut off for one reason or another,
Fix the valve if you know how.
If you can't fix the valve, replace it if you know how.
If you can't do the above, call a plumber.
Actually the 2 lines that need fixing are attached to a sink and a toilet
and are in competition with one other sink nearby on the same basement level
for the lowest in the gravity table. Of the two sinks I think the one that
leaks permanently is the one I have to fix - I mean its the one that drips
when both are open. Just my luck. SO, am I right in assuming I cannot fix
this without curing my main water shut-off problem?! Somewhere else and I
guess you may be right.
The thing I may have painted over is a knurled head 9/16" H x 11/16" Dia on
a post sticking out 1" complete that is molded into the steel valve
bulb-shaped housing at right angles to the main shut-off stem and is inline
with the center of the housing located at a point just higher than center
(higher than the main shut-off stem). There seems to be a hole in it (or a
point that looks like where a rollled steel cotter pin is put), and the
knurled head suggests it can be adjusted. Its centered after the shut off,
barely. What is this thing?
I'm trying to put this post at the end, for everyone to see.
"Weird" valve things you may see near a water meter are backflow prevention
devices. And sometimes connections to test these devices.
What can happen is that you are watering a tree with a garden hose and have
just sprayed the tree with insecticide. And there is a puddle of water the
hose end is laying in.
Then the city water is shut off maybe because of the main breaking or
whatever. And you are located up on a hill. Someone down the street is also
watering. Well in the absence of pressure in the main, water flows downhill
to where someone downhill is watering.
Water is sucked "backwards" through your hose and into the city water main!
Also the insecticide is also sucked into the city water main!
To prevent this from happening, many cities require backflow prevention
devices near the meter. This can be what is called a "gate valve". Sometimes
there are connections on either side of the valve for testing. Someone can
connect a testing device to these to test the valve to be sure water will
not flow backwards.
Also you will see toilet and garden sprinkler valves which say
"anti-siphon". Some are also "vacuum breaker". This lets air in to break a
siphon. If you paint over the air hole, it may not function properly.
Diagram of an anti-siphon vacuum breaker valve...
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