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Thread: Water Shut off valve for residence

  1. #1
    DIY Member 87vertgt's Avatar
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    Question Water Shut off valve for residence

    So I had to shut off the water to my building this weekend...didnt go so well...

    I turned off the valve inside the residence which worked to a certain point...as there was a small amount of water still coming out.

    Then I turned off the water at the Water meter....maybe slight almost no difference...i didnt wait a couple minutes-still no change.


    From what I heard theres a valve in the side walk that I need a special key?

    where do i get this key? what does it look like? and do you think it will work as far as stopping all water from entering the building?

    Talk to me boyz

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Two issues here. First, the valve inside the house should be changed to a ball valve. These provide a 100% shut off and do not leak. Second. The valve at the meter does require a special "key" These will vary in configuration. Some are a square or rectangular hole, some are a U shape that fits over a T, and there may be others. However, you should realize that most cities prohibit homeowners and sometimes even plumbers from using these keys. The meter is the property of the city and they just don't want citizens turning water on/off. They usually will come and turn the valve for you, but that can take some time. That said, my personal feeling is that for emergencies having a key of your own can prevent alot of damage to your property. I have a "war story" to go with that, but I'll save you from it. You should be able to tell what you need for a meter key either from a rod attached to the meter valve or from the valve itself on the meter. (Depends on how deep the meter is) I had my key made for me by a welder friend out of 1" pipe.

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    DIY Junior Member wmills's Avatar
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    Or you can buy a "key" from one of the big box stores for around 6 buxs. Mine looks like a four foot piece of rebar with a t handle at top and an inverted u at the bottom
    Last edited by wmills; 09-21-2009 at 01:28 PM.

  4. #4
    DIY Member 87vertgt's Avatar
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    thanx for the response gents...


    whats the chances of this valve stopping %100 of the water?

    %50 / %50?

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    That Big Box key does not work with many meters.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The main shutoff to the meter probably hasn't been used in years...it could work, but it also could leak a little. If you break it, it could cost you big bucks. Best left alone...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    I agree with Gary, get a key that works. They can be a real bear to turn at times but when you've got no other valves (functional or extant) then you MUST have one.

    If the valve breaks, it is on the city side of the meter. The city has repaired leaks and such on their side/right of way. Stuff that breaks on your side they make you pay for. Doesn't really matter, if it breaks then it is no good anyway and needs to be replaced.

    Last home I lived in had no shutoffs before I moved in (1950's construction, neighbors' were the same.) The city valve was harder to turn every time I had a plumbing issue, but it worked and shut off fully. First time I did it was without a key and it took awhile for me to break it loose. The second time I couldn't make it work with my biggest wrench (awkward angle) so I bought a key. The big box keys are kind of wimpy and flex a lot...they aren't like the ones my plant operators and mechanics welded together.

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    DIY Member davesnothome's Avatar
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    I had to have mine shut off for exact reason you describe and to replace it with a ball valve....called the city, they sent out 2 men...yeh 2 men, to shut off the meter. Cost me $60.00 to shut it off, then I had no water until the next day when they came back to turn it back on...yeh you got it, 2 men again came to turn it back on for another $60.00. $120.00 to turn off and turn back on...$12.00 for the ball valve. $132.00 for me to do the work myself. They sent 2 guys I guess in case one guy keeled over while doing the duty....LOL, big job of about 1 mins work... But, you risk it if you damage something....and isn't that the way it usually goes. Then you,ll need a backhoe in....call the city and bite the bullet!!!

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That is usually why the crews have extra guys. That way if one gets run over, they have backups to take his place. I doubt that if you have a valve at the meter you also have a curb stop, unless the meter is inside the house, but then you usually do not have a second valve to turn off the water inside the building.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davesnothome View Post
    Cost me $60.00 to shut it off, then I had no water until the next day when they came back to turn it back on...yeh you got it, 2 men again came to turn it back on for another $60.00.
    That's a bargain! Plumbers charge about $75 locally for the "truck charge" of just showing up. This for a truck that never has the parts or tools on it that are needed to do the friggin' job. Most of the time I have to finish the work for them and supply a tool or two.

    Don't even ask how much it cost to replace a shower valve through a plumber...and I had to go buy parts. It was grab your ankles time.

  11. #11
    DIY Member davesnothome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    That is usually why the crews have extra guys. That way if one gets run over, they have backups to take his place. I doubt that if you have a valve at the meter you also have a curb stop, unless the meter is inside the house, but then you usually do not have a second valve to turn off the water inside the building.
    LOL ..Hahaha...at least I thought it was 2 guys....it might have been a woman, kind of acted like one anyway!!! We have the curb stop then the line into the house with a shut off valve ahead of the City water meter (In the house)

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