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Rwh56 10-10-2012 05:06 PM

Advice on replacing main water shutoff valve
I would like to replace the old valves that control the main water line inside the house. There are two, one street side of the meter, and the other house side of the meter. The house side valve has tubing that does not look like modern copper tube sweated joints. Is there anything I need to know to install a new valve on this type of tubing. The tubing is connected to modern copper tubes further inside the house, so I suppose I can saw off the old valve and replace the unusual looking tubing with modern copper tubing. Any advice is appreciated.


I have attached some photos:

Wuzzat? 10-10-2012 06:24 PM

The seat in my 1964 valve was undamaged so I just put in a new washer. It was almost an inch in diameter.

Unless you are pretty good at plumbing I would let sleeping dogs lie and leave cans of worms unopened.

piper27 10-11-2012 01:31 PM

Looks like a plain old brass valve with copper sweated into it. I would disconnect the pipe at the outlet side of the meter, let the water drain from the house pipe, unsweat the old valve and sweat a new one in. Good luck

Wuzzat? 10-11-2012 02:22 PM


Originally Posted by piper27 (Post 78221)
Looks like a plain old brass valve with copper sweated into it. I would disconnect the pipe at the outlet side of the meter, let the water drain from the house pipe, unsweat the old valve and sweat a new one in. Good luck

While Rwh56 is at it should he check the flow rate and PSI available from the supply at several different GPM values?
It's the "pump curve" for the city water system as seen at his house..

I have the impression that future expansion of the piping sometimes calls for this info.

CallMeVilla 10-11-2012 03:56 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The orange valve is a gate valve -- they suck and corrode after time, making it almost impossible to work on the plumbing. I ALWAYS replace gate valves with ball valves because they are more durable and give you longer life. (see yellow handle in pic)

This video is very helpful for beginners, even though the guy is a goober and the video skills are amateur. Also, he puts the same crummy gate way valve when he could have done better.

If you can find someone to help you, take advantage . . . torch work is learned by doing and there are tricks to the feel of it. (HNT: Use the best flux you can find.) Also, I notice there is no faucet (hose bib is the right term) above your shutoff . . . that means you may get dripping from the house into your soldering area (bad).

Keep asking questions, get somebody to help, go for it! :D

Wuzzat? 10-11-2012 06:18 PM

In the video wasn't he supposed to disassemble the new valve so the valve washer and valve stem packing don't have to withstand the high temps during soldering?

At the end of the video he tightens the stem nut on the new valve to stop a leak, which is maybe all it would have taken on the old valve to stop the leak he mentions at the beginning of the video.

CallMeVilla 10-11-2012 09:20 PM

Yes, Wuzzat, with gate valves you should do that.

The advantage of using a ball valve is that you do not disassemble it. No messing around, just solder it and be done. The pic I provided has a threaded end which requires a threaded male fitting if you have enough pipe length to accommodate it. Here is what you do:

1. Cut old valve out, top and bottom
2. Solder the male ends to two short pieces of pipe
3. Screw the pieces into the ball valve, remembering to put teflon tape on the threads before assembling!
4. Approximate the length of the top and bottom pieces allowing for the union connector (he demonstrated this in the video). Leave a little slack top and bottom (1/8" is enough). Remember, the union without the stop can slide over the two pipes, allowing you get put it together.
5. Firmly screw the pieces into the ball valve with wrenches, being careful to position it so it can operate without hitting the wall.
6. Having prepped the pipes top and bottom and prepping the unions (sanding and fluxing), assemble the whole thing.
7. Solder top and bottom.
8. Brush flux on the joint while it is very hot to clean up the leakage. Wipe with a clean cloth.

I am assuming you have installed a hose bib (faucet) above this valve or that one exists. This is a good working design to drain water from the house when working on the faucets or toilets.

Hope this helps you!

nealtw 10-11-2012 10:55 PM

That reminds why I like pex.

CallMeVilla 10-12-2012 05:22 PM

Yes, PEX is cool but you have to have the crimper and the fittings . . . a technology shift. For shutoff valves, I prefer the torque strength of copper. Running the supply lines makes PEX a lot easier.

nealtw 10-12-2012 05:47 PM

I borrowed a crimper from a retired plumber and he was complaining about a leak he had when he made some changes. It turned out he didn't know there was a special fitting to join to the old gray pipe. Any one can get into trouble doing the simplest job.

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