water dripping from main inside house valve

I just got back from a trip. Had turned off the water and drained the pipes so no chance of pipes freezing. I've done this at least twice before, but this time, when I turned the main house valve on, water dripped from the valve. Quite a bit.
Is there any way out of this other than having the city turn off the water to the house so a plumber can replace the valve?
Like putting bread or cheerios in the water pipes, or leeches, or at least maybe temporarily there's something I can wrap around the stem and where it comes out of the valve. House built in 1979,
I just got back and other things have piled up. Not a good time to hire a plumber.
Valve is in the basement, behind a warddrobe full of stuff with stuff piled on top of it with a heavy box of medium length pieces of wood, metal, etc. in front of that.
If it's just stem packing, can I replace it myself, with something that will work better than this did? Will the city turn the water off for me, or will they insist that a plumber call?
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On 5/22/19 11:15 AM, micky wrote:

First thing to try yourself is tightening the packing nut just a little.
You could also try some of that "FlexSeal" tape , as advertised on TV.
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On Wed, 22 May 2019 11:54:04 -0400, "\"Retired"@home.com wrote:

FORGET the flex seal tape!!! you want to solve the problem,not hide it
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On 5/22/19 6:33 PM, Clare Snyder wrote:

Micky asked a question: "maybe temporarily there's something I can wrap around the stem and where it comes out of the valve.
I just got back and other things have piled up. Not a good time to hire a plumber"
I gave him an option. Others can, and have, provided other alternatives.
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Hmm, they say that the memory is the first to go.
It's been posted here before, dry ice.
Just put a chunk of dry ice on the pipe and water will stop flowing.
Once saved me thousands of dollars. Damn plumber told me the city had to turn off the water. I had the damn valve, the total repair cost was the cost of the dry ice 5 bucks.
--
Dan Espen

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On 5/22/19 11:57 AM, Dan Espen wrote:

Sometimes, like our house, there is not enough pipe sticking out of the basement wall to apply dry ice.
Unless you can dig a hole in yard outside basement wall down to the pipe.
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On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 12:11:51 PM UTC-4, "\" snipped-for-privacy@home.com wrote:

For sure I'd call the water company first, it may be free for them to shut it off. And is there no risk of freezing the pipe busting it? I guess with plastic which is used today it would be OK, but how about old steel? What happens if it comes unfrozen while you have the pipe apart? Doh! And last time I bought dry ice, it wasn't so cheap as I recall either.
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"\"Retired"@home.com writes:

Yes, I can imagine that can happen. In my case I had about 2 inches. Since all I had to do is unscrew the bonnet and drop in a new gate valve I suppose I could have put the ice right on the valve.
There was quite a bit of water flowing from the leak. The ice stopped it "cold".
--
Dan Espen

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On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 1:23:38 PM UTC-4, Dan Espen wrote:

If I was replacing it, I would use a ball valve. Very easy to quickly turn on and off and less likely to leak, in my experience.
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On 5/22/2019 12:23 PM, Dan Espen wrote:

  First off , y'all gotta remember it's Micky that's got the problem ... next , everybody seems to have forgotten that when the valve is closed there is no pressure (except residual , can be vented by opening and then closing a faucet) on the house side of the valve . Close the valve , remove the bonnet (and handle) and either add packing or replace it all . Replace bonnet and handle and open the valve - knowing that you may need to tighten the packing a bit more . ALSO many of those valves will stop dripping if you just crank it wide open (called "back seating") .
--
Snag
Yes , I'm old
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On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 1:37:50 PM UTC-4, Terry Coombs wrote:

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Doh! I think you're right. I haven't had to fiddle with one of these for a very long time and don't think I even had a situation where it was an issue to turn the water off. But I think you're right, with the valve closed you can replace the packing with the water pressure on, it makes sense.
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On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 1:41:16 PM UTC-4, trader_4 wrote:

Maybe, maybe not. About a month ago I had the plumber over to fix a leak I couldn't find in the ceiling. I've always turned the water off out at the meter by the curb. After one bad experience I'm careful never to be with out that special valve wrench.
But when the plumber and I were in the basement, we noticed the house did h ave an inside shut off. I never knew that and I'd lived there ten years. Anyway, we closed it and it started spurting water. I turned water off and he fiddled with the valve and got it to stop leaking, and he recommended w e never touch the inside valve again. He didn't want to open the wall to g et to it. There is no way to repack or replace that valve without removing major drywall.
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On 5/22/2019 1:35 PM, TimR wrote:

  That water was probably the residual pressure I mentioned ... here at our house there is of course the cutoff at the meter , but there is also a cutoff out in the yard - there is a yard faucet before that cutoff just in case - and there are valves under the house so I can shut off the kitchen and/or master bath if needed . I don't need to cut the whole house off work on the kitchen sink .
--
Snag
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wrote:

Which is why they should NOT be enclosed inside a wall - - - - - - - - -
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wrote:

Gee - I missed that it was Mickey!!! Anyway - even Mickey should be able to follow the instructions I gave.
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On 5/22/19 11:15 AM, micky wrote:

Not a big deal, had that happen to me.  The city's off/on fee was $125 and the plumber was $480.
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In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 22 May 2019 12:02:03 -0400, Bill Jackson

Well, it turned out all I had to do was tighten the bonnet nut. I figured it was tightened when they made the valve and I wouldn't be able to make it any tighter! Maybe roaches have been eating the packing material inside. 3/4" wrench iirc and 1/4 turn.
With the $500 I saved, I'm going to buy a new car radio.
Thanks to everyone who suggested that, except any who were sarcastic.
By coincidence, I'm out doing errands today, same day as above, and I went to Best Buy even though I shoudlnt' have bothered and only spent 5 minutes, but as I was driving out, I saw one of those valve wrenches sticking two feet out of the sidewalk, with no one around. I don't think I've ever seen one before so it is quite a coincidence to see one all by its lonesome today.
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On Monday, May 27, 2019 at 7:30:39 PM UTC-4, micky wrote:

In some areas it is standard practice to leave the wrench in the hole, when you're working on the water. It's a message to others who might notice wa ter not working and think it is broken, or who might come by and turn it ba ck on with their own wrench at the worst time.
That's a local custom, I'm not sure how widespread it is.
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In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 28 May 2019 08:20:00 -0700 (PDT), TimR

So I shouldn't have gotten out of the car and turned on the water, just to see how hard it was to turn. Oops.

Seems like a good idea.
That accounts for no one being around. And still an interesting coincidence to see one the first and only day I've ever wanted to turn off my own water.
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On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 11:15:39 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

Why are you asking us instead of calling the water company and asking them? I'm 99.99% sure if you're the home owner they will shut it off for you, no plumber call needed. They may charge a fee though. And it sounds like it just needs some new packing.
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