I am looking to shut off ALL the water to my house, so I can repair a
leaky pre-meter valve.
The city says there should be a small manhole-type cover in my yard.
According to them, I should be able to open it and use a special tool
to turn off the water to my house. They provide the tool.
But I can't find any hatches in my yard.
Here is a link to a picture of my leaky valve and what I suspect MIGHT
be the water shutoff.
Don't worry, the link is workplace-safe and spam-free. In the photo you
can see the water dribbling down the leaky valve.
See that hatch to the right? Is that safe to open? Will I find my
shutoff valve in there?
No. The "hatch" to the right is the sewer cleanout.
If the access covers in the yard for the curb stop are cast iron,
use a child's metal detector (or similar) to find.
They are loaning you the tool because YOU assume all responsibility
if the curb stop breaks (happens). AYOR
If the valve is leaking at the packing nut and can't be tightened
any more, you can repack it without shutting off at the curb.
Close the valve at the meter (assumes this valve DOES work).
Drain water from house piping as best you can.
Take off the blue handle.
Remove the packing nut.
Repack the gland with either graphite string or Teflon string
That's it! It's leaking right there at the top.
But actually this leaking valve is BEFORE the meter (oddly enough).
Were you thinking I could cut the water supply off to the leaky valve?
Or were you saying I can just turn off the leaky valve and take apart
Thanks for your help!
Yes, just turn off the leaker (assuming it will shut tight)
and remove the handle.
THEN drain the pipes in the house because water will come out
past the shaft when you remove the packing nut.
If the meter is in a part of the house where spilled water
doesn't matter then of course it's not as critical.
Glad you got it tight. Most likely that is all you need. If you do
ever have to repack it, I'd try to shut it off and replace the washer
on that valve at the same time. That cover next to it is a sewer
cleanout. Has nothing to do with the supply water. The shutoff
usually has a steel cover in the yard about the same size as that
sewer cleanout or a little larger.
Here is a tip to find it. Walk a straight line from where that meter
is in the basement toward the road. Measure in the basement so you
find the same distance outside from the corner of the house. Then
walk toward the street. Those are usually located not too far from
the street otr sidewalk. If you dont know, there is usually several
feet past the edge of the road that belongs to the city. If you know
where that is, it's generally only a few feet past there. If not,
figure about 10 to 15 feet from the road, or if you have sidewalks,
very near the sidewalk, or maybe even IN it. They usually say "WATER"
on them. *If you find one that says "BEER" invite all of us* :)
I'd locate it now. If you ever have a meter break off the pipe (they
do that), you will need to shut off the water fast. It's just
something everyone should know.
I am surprised that they lend you the tool. When I was working as a
handyman and shut off the water in the yard (I had my own shutoff
tool), I had the water dept. get rather pissed with me. They said
ONLY the water company or a licensed plumber is supposed to do that.
Later on when I was working for a plumber, they were happy when I did
it, and saved them the work. In 8 years of working for a plumber, I
had 3 meters break off, and when that water starts gushing in, I
wanted to shut off the water fast. (I made my own tool, but later I
bought a commercial one from a plumber that was going out of
business). The one bad thing, those shutoffs tend to get filled with
dirt and there is no way to shut it off. The water company has to
come with a large air compressor and blow out the dirt. One time when
the meter broke, that happened. What a f##king mess. All I could do
was put a sump pump in the basement with a hose out the window and
turn it on. At least it never got more than a few inches deep in the
basement becaue it took the water company almost 4 hours to get the
equipment and blow out that valve. At one point I tried to put a
piece of rubber over the broken pipe and hose clamp it. That was
useless with 70 lbs of pressure. I got a free bath though....
By the way, I like your horses in those pictures. I have horses!
The entry point of the pipe in your basemment gives you orientation in
reference to the location of the shut off outside. I know where it is on
my yard. First thing I took notice when house was built.
Not odd at all, "dude". It is there so the water company can change
out the meter all quick and nice.
And you (or the water company CAN cut off the water supply to the
leaking valve. You just CANT do it from in the house. It is OUTSIDE,
That valve looks like a pre-meter shutoff valve, but you should also
have a curb box that also will have a valve in it so that the valve you are
looking at could be serviced.
I have no way of telling you where it may be however.
You should be accepting the Darwin award for that post.
Here is a quick clue. The picture you posted is NOT YOUR FRONT YARD.
You wont find a manhole cover where you are looking. You will find
some smelly shitty water though if you open up that brass plug in the
floor. Here is another clue. That plug isnt going to come out easily.
Oh, and one last clue. Tighten the packing nut. That would be the
silly sguare brass nut with 2 extra sides just below that blue
thing-a-ma-bob. Graphite string or even teflon tape will work too and
you wont even need to shut off anything to do it.
OK, I did that. Took a fair bit of force. I hope that works!
Whatever, dude. I come here to ask lots of questions before turning a
wrench. That way I'm never in line for the award, and future clueless
homeowners can have the answer too. Thanks for your "contribution".
The hatch cover out at the street is probably covered with dirt. The
suggestion to find it with a metal detector is a good one. Maybe you
can borrow one. Does your neighbor know where his is? It is common
to bring in the water from the main line between two houses. If you
can find his, yours should be close.
The photo shows a sewer cleanout.
The water will be outside someplace. It may be under a foot of dirt over the
years, or it by be by the curb, depending on where you live. Water company
may have to locate it for you. I have a rough idea where mine is, but I
have not seen it as it was buried years ago.
If there are any similar houses on your street, ask the
people who live there. If one house has the shutoff valve
12 feet from the house wall and aligned with the middle of a
window, an identical house elsewhere probably had its
shutoff valve installed in the same relative position.
Speaking of that, now that they can read your electric meter without
leaving the snack room, can they disconnect your electricity without
coming out? In the past they put plastic insulators over the meter
tabs, but maybe they could retract the tabs instead?
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
They still have to manually pull the meter.
The meter reading device where they can read from the street is a
radio controlled device, but all it does is send out the numbers on
the meter. Same with water meters that have that.
Hey - I am surprised no one said this. In my area the water company is
responsible for everything on their side of the meter. Ask THEM to fix the
leak, its their water that's spilling in your basement. Also, the valve may
not be in your yard but it could be in the street. It may have WATER stamped
on the lid. One Call, as has been suggested, will come out and mark
everything if you indeed need to DIY.
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