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Thread: Shut off valve question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jheinzel's Avatar
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    Default Shut off valve question

    I have an old shut off valve in my system and I'm not exactly sure how it works and don't want to force something the wrong way and break it. This is a picture of the front and back of the valve. The back side is threaded and the front looks like it can be turned, but I think you have to do something with the nut on the back before turning. Any help would be great.
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    Last edited by Terry; 01-02-2011 at 12:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    The side you listed as "front" needs to be rotated 90 degrees to turn it on.

    With an old valve like that, there is a chance that it will leak after being moved for the first time in 40 years, so you need to be prepared to shut off the gas at the meter to replace the valve.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member jheinzel's Avatar
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    So what about the nut on the "back"? I thought I heard someone say something about both sides needing to be turned, but I could be wrong.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jheinzel View Post
    So what about the nut on the "back"? I thought I heard someone say something about both sides needing to be turned, but I could be wrong.
    Leave the nut on the back alone.

    Whoever said you needed to mess with it, surely isn't a gas-fitter.

  5. #5
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Both sides must turn together, as it is all one piece. The valve bore is tapered. If it is stuck, loosen the nut a 1/2 turn and tap on it to help release the tapered fit. Snug it back up after you have moved it.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member jheinzel's Avatar
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    Thanks I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes. Sorry dlarrivee, this is for my boiler's water lines, not gas, probably should have said that.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member jheinzel's Avatar
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    Worked great thanks!

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    I guess I'm too young to recognize that as a water line...

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    THAT valve is NOT and had NEVER BEEN a "water" valve. It is strictly a gas valve. Water valves would NEVER have been made of cast iron like that one it, nor would any REAL plumber have used cast iron fittings on the lines. You have a "hack job" done by some DIY or handyman who used whatever he had in his miscellaneous basket at the time.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    What are your thoughts on backing that nut off when the valve is being used in gas service (proper install)?

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member jheinzel's Avatar
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    Well I can agree that there are plenty of "hack jobs" on this house. It's 102 years old and has only had two owners, the builder and his daughter. That "shutoff" is right between and elbow and a union. I could always pull it and replace it. The reason I'm not thinking of doing that is the whole system is probably going to be replaced in the next couple of years anyway.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Still wouldn't be a bad idea to put in a 1/4 turn ball valve. It wouldn't cost much and could be reused if you do replumb the house in a couple of years.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    When used in gas service, those valves typically leak after being operated, because they depend on a layer of grease between the body and plug for sealing, and that grease often "disappears" after a number of years. If the valve does NOT turn, then loosening the nut should free it up, but it should be retightened, AND the valve tested for leakage, after it is rotated, NOT just after it is turned on again. In this case, it is probably something the builder did because he KNEW that "anyone can do plumbing".

  14. #14
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Most people can do some plumbing.

    That valve is sure in much better shape than the one outside on my gas meter.

  15. #15
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Those are ductile iron fittings, and black nipples, likely ductile. And if its that old, the valve was very likely intended for water use also. Especially with the bronze portion.

    Ballvalves depend on plastic seals, and that valve depends on a machined taper. Its not much different than a gate valve, which also closes on a taper. This one is simply round, not flat. It's a beauty and I would not change it.

    I don't think this is a hack, but a pro job - check out the link on ductile nipples:

    http://www.harcofittings.com/product...ADINipples.pdf

    Ductile can replace brass! Few are aware of this and they see a black pipe in a drinking water or boiler system, and start ripping it out. Sad.
    Last edited by ballvalve; 01-03-2011 at 12:53 PM.

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