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Thread: How long after water is shut off can plumbing work be done?

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    DIY Junior Member dayexday's Avatar
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    Default How long after water is shut off can plumbing work be done?

    I live on the 11th floor of a building and need the building to shut off water so a plumber can replace my shower valve. The plumber is being paid by the hour. How long after the building shuts off the water can the work commence? He says he has to wait at least an hour after the water is shut off until he starts.

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    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    Must be Union Rules.

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    DIY Junior Member dayexday's Avatar
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    hmm, so there's no real need to wait?

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    DIY Member DaveHo's Avatar
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    He'll need to wait for all the water above to drain out, but other than that there's no other need to wait.

    I'm more amazed that each unit does not have it's own shut-off. That stinks for all the other residents.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    He can start work as soon as he is able to control the water inside the pipes. Sometimes that means immediately if he can stop the flow long enough to install control valves, or a long time if he has to wait for all the water to drain down from the higher levels. In addition, water working the way it does, even after he starts to work if someone higher up opens a faucet and breaks the suction holding the water in their pipes, it can flow down and interfere with the work he is doing.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There are ways to make this faster, but not everyone has the tools to do it. There are machines that can freeze the pipe to block water and there is a tool called JetSwet (may not have that spelled right for their trade name) that, once you have the water off, you can use that tool to block the water immediately. You'd use that to install an intermediate shutoff valve, then do the rest of your plumbing, while the rest of the building has water restored. You could cut the pipe and insert the JetSwet almost immediately after the pressure was off as it acts like a valve to hold the water back while you install a new valve. Once it is soldered in, you can remove the JetSwet, shut the new valve, then turn the water back on and then complete the rest since you now have a new, local shutoff. You just can't solder things while there is a constant drip of water in the pipes, and stopping it can take a very long time (or not).

    You may be on the 11th floor, but if there are lots of floors above, it becomes a bigger unknown as HJ said. Think finger over the end of a straw...someone opening a valve above can release water that was trapped. Since valves are not all created equal, under vacuum, they may leak while not leaking under pressure, then, if someone has a leaky faucet or say toilet valve somewhere above you, it could leak for hours.

    To give you an idea, here's the instructions for the JetSwet... http://www.brenelle.com/index.php?type=how

    Depending on the hourly rate, if he didn't have one, it might be cheaper to buy one and let him use it so he wasn't sitting around twiddling his thumbs (but, depending on the scope of the job, he may be able to prep other things while the water stops dripping.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 09-20-2012 at 04:01 PM.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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