What's a reasonable price to fix a leaky main valve?

House Repair Talk

Help Support House Repair Talk:

Flyover

Trying not to screw things up worse
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
1,762
Reaction score
1,703
Location
Oh Hah
My main valve drips. This was a known issue when we bought the house, but the leak was very small and for a while there it seemed to go away completely.

Or so I thought. Turns out, I just wasn't noticing it. Then one day I noticed one of the shelves I'd placed under it (made out of a hollowcore door) was rotting.

16740742123183160287490320328272.jpg

Anyway, it's easy to get to, if that makes a difference. And, I'm in the midwest. What else might impact the quote, and what range (min-max) should I consider reasonable?
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
2,226
Reaction score
931
Location
Cary NC
Are there nuts on both sides connecting it to the mains and the meter? Are your mains like 4' below grade? I'd want to replace it with a ball valve instead of a gate valve, which may require a bit more work moving the meter down. As to cost, no idea. I'd bet $300-500, but that's a SWAG. Just getting a plumber to come to the house is $100.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
2,580
Reaction score
2,323
It appears to be a stop and waste globe valve which may only need a new washer and stem repacking but I think most plumbers like to get rid of them. Stem repacking is getting to be a thing of the past though I do it on my frost proof sill cocks.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
2,226
Reaction score
931
Location
Cary NC
It appears to be a stop and waste globe valve which may only need a new washer and stem repacking but I think most plumbers like to get rid of them. Stem repacking is getting to be a thing of the past though I do it on my frost proof sill cocks.
You'd need to be able to turn off the water out at the street to do either. I have the tool to turn mine off at the curb, but ours are only 12" down due to our milder winters. So my tool to turn it off is only about 2' long. Our meters are out near the property line as well, about 10' in from the curb.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
2,580
Reaction score
2,323
Best to call a plumber and let him decide. One could invest in a 4' curb key but if a washer and repacking didn't do the job one could be in a jam w/o water. Then it would be an emergency call for a plumber.
 

Flyover

Trying not to screw things up worse
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
1,762
Reaction score
1,703
Location
Oh Hah
Thanks for this so far, I'll take more photos tomorrow.
 

ckev70

Active Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Messages
26
Reaction score
2
Is there a meter after the gate valve? if there is a meter which probably was installed from water company, would the valve maintenance be on the owners or water company?
 

ekrig

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
140
Reaction score
125
Location
NJ
I just replaced my main shutoff valve a couple of months ago. I was a more complicated job because I had two valves, one before the meter and pressure reducing valve, and another after, he also redid the plumbing between the valves so that pressure reducing valve was after the meter, and I asked the plumber to install a shutoff valve on the hot water side of the water heater. In my case the old valves were also soldered. All that was $825.

From your picture, it appears that the valve connects to the pipe from the wall using a fitting that is soldered. It that's fine, and the other side does not involve soldering then it is a very easy repair. If that's the case, take pictures, or check the part in the website of a plumbing supply store with a location nearby.

However, I would determine if the leak is from the fitting connection or valve. If it from the fitting, it has to be replaced and you don't want to lead the plumber in thinking that it is fine, or the plumber must come back and charge you extra because it was not part of the original scope of work.

After the plumber changed things, I found that my pressure reducing valve was not working. It was cheaper online from Lowe's, but it was an emergency so I bought it from Ferguson's locally. Since the fittings were good, it only took 5 minutes to replace. (Make sure you have a large set of water pump pliers; I recommend the Husky's 12" quick adjusting pliers.)
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
2,580
Reaction score
2,323
Flyover, whether you use a plumber or not I know you like to know what's going on. This guy explains gate, globe and ball valves and the stem packing nut.
 

Flyover

Trying not to screw things up worse
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
1,762
Reaction score
1,703
Location
Oh Hah
Here's a better shot of the valve:
16741421946201974527371097888819.jpg

To the right of the above photo, you can see what I guess is my meter. Below is a slightly better shot of it:
16741422262966329702912396602336.jpg

This is in my front yard:
16741449625355981406323839770527.jpg
 

Flyover

Trying not to screw things up worse
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
1,762
Reaction score
1,703
Location
Oh Hah
Since the oxidation (I think that's oxidation?) is all around the valve handle assembly and that little piece sticking downward, I assume the issue is in the valve and not the wall fitting.
 

BuzzLOL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
1,301
Reaction score
938
My main valve drips. This was a known issue when we bought the house, but the leak was very small and for a while there it seemed to go away completely.

Or so I thought. Turns out, I just wasn't noticing it. Then one day I noticed one of the shelves I'd placed under it (made out of a hollowcore door) was rotting.


Anyway, it's easy to get to, if that makes a difference. And, I'm in the midwest. What else might impact the quote, and what range (min-max) should I consider reasonable?
First clean off the crud and try tightening the packing nut under the faucet handle a bit and see if that stops the dripping...
Can also apply some faucet grease to the shaft going into the packing and then close and open the valve a few times to get the grease into the packing to help lubricate the packing seal.
https://www.supplyhouse.com/Brasscraft-SF1335-PTFE-Stem-Packing-Stem-Repair-Kit
Harvey Anti-Corrosion Grease, 1 oz. 050050-12 | Zoro
 

Flyover

Trying not to screw things up worse
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
1,762
Reaction score
1,703
Location
Oh Hah
I managed to tighten the packing nut just as it was; typically the bucket underneath yields about a cup of water per day, so I'll check tomorrow and if it's dry I'll pat myself on the back and call it fixed for now.
 

BuzzLOL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
1,301
Reaction score
938
I managed to tighten the packing nut just as it was; typically the bucket underneath yields about a cup of water per day, so I'll check tomorrow and if it's dry I'll pat myself on the back and call it fixed for now.
If it's not leaking I get the pat for saving you a $1,000...
 

BuzzLOL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
1,301
Reaction score
938
Don't be so hasty that was the first thing up in the video I posted.
I posted the first simple cheap solution that worked... tighten it 1/4 turn... that's the whole point here... LOL!
 

BuzzLOL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
1,301
Reaction score
938
Is there a meter after the gate valve? if there is a meter which probably was installed from water company, would the valve maintenance be on the owners or water company?
Around here the responsibility for the pipe from the street, valves, and meter mountings is on the property owner...
However, a recent local rule made the gas line the responsibility of the gas company now... and all indoor gas meters are being moved outdoors...
Another rule calls for all lead water lines outside to be replaced by Water Dept... after the Flint lead lines fiasco... still waiting for that to start... we're still paying the $768Million ordered by the EPA for separating the sanitary sewer lines from the storm sewer lines and thus stopping the dumping of human poop into the Maumee River and Lake Erie during and after storms... however, the adjoining City of Maumee was just busted for still doing the same thing...
I replaced my indoor lead pipes about 1980 or so... they weren't leaking but the galvanized iron pipes were rusting shut/clogging and leaking so I replaced everything... the lead pipes looked like galvanized iron pipes but you could bend them in your hands like you were Superman...
 

BuzzLOL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
1,301
Reaction score
938
You'd need to be able to turn off the water out at the street to do either. I have the tool to turn mine off at the curb, but ours are only 12" down due to our milder winters. So my tool to turn it off is only about 2' long. Our meters are out near the property line as well, about 10' in from the curb.
I made a 6 foot long tool to do that out of electrical conduit, but wouldn't you know it, I later found a professional one for free... so I have two now... our water meters have to be indoors to prevent freezing up...
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
2,226
Reaction score
931
Location
Cary NC
I made a 6 foot long tool to do that out of electrical conduit, but wouldn't you know it, I later found a professional one for free... so I have two now... our water meters have to be indoors to prevent freezing up...
We get cold snaps, but they usually don't last long enough to freeze up the meter or water line buried a foot down in the yard. Mid-January and our high today is 56F and low 39F. Per the iPhone weather app, on Saturday a week from now our low will be 28F with a high of 53F. Our footers tend to only need to go 12" down as well.
 

ekrig

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
140
Reaction score
125
Location
NJ
From the new pictures, it seems that you have fittings on both sides and, as long as they are good, replacing that valve should be a breeze if it comes to that. As others have said, I would opt to change for a quarter-turn valve instead as they are much more controllable.

The only complicating matter is that you might have to call your town to have them come turn-off the water and back on afterward. In my case, the plumber said that he was not allowed to touch the valve at the street and hard to coordinate with the town.
 

Latest posts

Top