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Main water shut off valve for house leaking, city water valve buried in driveway

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 9th, 2019 10:14 am
[OP]
Member
Jun 4, 2013
420 posts
28 upvotes
Oakville

Main water shut off valve for house leaking, city water valve buried in driveway

Hi.

The control valve for water in the house is behind the wall in our basement bathroom. Basement was renovated by previous people and apparently it's against bylaw for the control valve to not be exposed. The valve is old and corroded.

Anyway, I shut it off to do something else in the house and then turned it back on and it started dripping right where the handle meets the stem. Dripping enough to fill a glass in half hour. Now water is no longer dripping and actually running down the pipe to the concrete floor behind the wall.

Called Halton Region and they take responsibility for these fixes even though it's in our house. Guy came over in less than hour. Should be a 5 minute fix but he couldn't find the city water valve outside. He checked couple neighbours and theirs are on the driveway. Knocked on our neighbour's door and she confirms that like 10 years ago the her husband told the contractors doing the new driveway not to bury the city water valve. Well they did it anyway, as did multiple other neighbours (she's been here 30 years).

The region guys had a map and said our city valve and the neighbour's to the other side should be almost side by side in the lawn along our property line. Well that it was the city told them to do in the 70s when these houses were being built. Guy said builders don't always follow their requests.

So anyway, region guys are waiting for some other guy to bring a machine that can map out the pipes to confirm the valve is where they believe it is under my driveway. They used two different readers that get strongest signal right on this spot and they've since marked it with a blue paint, and this is parallel to where they are on my two neighbours to the left. If the other guy confirms their findings, well WE gotta chisel away that spot on my driveway. After that, region guys can shut off the water and do the fix in my basement.

My father in law can patch the driveway afterwards and leave the valve exposed. But in the meantime, who is going to dig up the spot? Are there are emergency contractors and handy guys that do this kind of thing on weekends? How much might they charge? Or should we rent tool from HD that does this? Does this kind of thing seem easy enough?

The water will continue to leak overnight and forever until we solve this problem. I can lay down old towels on floor and kind of soak up most of it maybe but since it's running on the floor I'm sure some will end up all along the concrete behind my drywall. Region guy says he's seen such bad leaks in house and not able to find city valve outside in timely manner that they've had to shut down water for the whole street.
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43 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Feb 2, 2014
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This is why I am a fan of adding another "main" shutoff valve after the original one (after the meter).

Those valves get old and require extra legwork to change. Washers break with repeated use and age. Shutoff the main valve, add another shutoff valve after the meter and use that one going forward.
Kevin Somnauth, CFA
Owner/Principal Broker - First Toronto Mortgage - Mortgage Architects (#13176)
Real Estate Salesperson - Century 21 Innovative
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Paris
CdnRealEstateGuy wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 2:00 pm
This is why I am a fan of adding another "main" shutoff valve after the original one (after the meter).

Those valves get old and require extra legwork to change. Washers break with repeated use and age. Shutoff the main valve, add another shutoff valve after the meter and use that one going forward.
Is that code in some places? My house has it and no way they did it to be helpful.
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Apr 19, 2018
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Kitchener/Waterloo, …
@metaman : Have you tried tightening down the valve cover yet? Quite often, that will stop water flow, at least until the replacement can be installed. Don't wrench the heck out of it. Often just a bit of turning down will be sufficient.

You can actually fix the leaking stem. It would involve closing the valve and removing the valve cover and the tap handle to see what was used to make the valve stem water tight. Older ones use packing and newer ones have a rubber.

Once the type of seal has been determined, you can buy a replacement for a couple of bucks at any hardware store.

Clean the stem of any mineral buildup. repack the cover, reinstall the cover and handle,, open the valve, and you should be good for another decade.
[OP]
Member
Jun 4, 2013
420 posts
28 upvotes
Oakville
Okay so the region guy is still waiting for the big machine guy but he just came back from lunch and turned the water back on fully, which has kind of stopped the leak but it's sweating now. We still have to monitor it.

He says the region can actually chisel away the asphalt after they confirm the location. But this would be on Monday. We are responsible for patching it up afterwards. After they cut it away, the water guys will come back mid week to do the valve stuff.
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Feb 2, 2014
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Jerico wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 2:03 pm
Is that code in some places? My house has it and no way they did it to be helpful.
I don't believe it's code here in the GTA. It makes sense though and benefits the city.
Kevin Somnauth, CFA
Owner/Principal Broker - First Toronto Mortgage - Mortgage Architects (#13176)
Real Estate Salesperson - Century 21 Innovative
President's Club Award Winner At The Mortgage Architects
[OP]
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Jun 4, 2013
420 posts
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Oakville
Another thing guy mentioned that if we have a 14"+ copper pipe going to the shutoff they could temporarily freeze the water in the pipe, change the valve to a new one and then that freezing process will thaw and things will be back to normal. But our pipe is well short of 14".
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Enlgma wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 2:11 pm
@metaman : Have you tried tightening down the valve cover yet? Quite often, that will stop water flow, at least until the replacement can be installed. Don't wrench the heck out of it. Often just a bit of turning down will be sufficient.

You can actually fix the leaking stem. It would involve closing the valve and removing the valve cover and the tap handle to see what was used to make the valve stem water tight. Older ones use packing and newer ones have a rubber.

Once the type of seal has been determined, you can buy a replacement for a couple of bucks at any hardware store.

Clean the stem of any mineral buildup. repack the cover, reinstall the cover and handle,, open the valve, and you should be good for another decade.
Yes, but to fix the stem, he has to shut off the water, which is the problem.
Kevin Somnauth, CFA
Owner/Principal Broker - First Toronto Mortgage - Mortgage Architects (#13176)
Real Estate Salesperson - Century 21 Innovative
President's Club Award Winner At The Mortgage Architects
[OP]
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Jun 4, 2013
420 posts
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Oakville
By the way, the guy used his wrench on the packing nut and said it's already fully tight.
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metaman wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 2:16 pm
Another thing guy mentioned that if we have a 14"+ copper pipe going to the shutoff they could temporarily freeze the water in the pipe, change the valve to a new one and then that freezing process will thaw and things will be back to normal. But our pipe is well short of 14".
Holy cow, I can't believe you're going through all of this! I feel for you, I'd be pretty agitated about this for a simple repair.
Kevin Somnauth, CFA
Owner/Principal Broker - First Toronto Mortgage - Mortgage Architects (#13176)
Real Estate Salesperson - Century 21 Innovative
President's Club Award Winner At The Mortgage Architects
Member
Apr 19, 2018
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Kitchener/Waterloo, …
CdnRealEstateGuy wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 2:16 pm
Yes, but to fix the stem, he has to shut off the water, which is the problem.
Uh, that is why one closes the valve first. A closed valve can have the packing nut removed, providing no taps are open in the house that would allow water to flow back.
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Apr 19, 2018
347 posts
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Kitchener/Waterloo, …
metaman wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 2:18 pm
By the way, the guy used his wrench on the packing nut and said it's already fully tight.
It was a thought. The packing nut is often overlooked.
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May 17, 2012
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they should be able to do a line freeze if they cannot find the curbstop or it is inoperable
[OP]
Member
Jun 4, 2013
420 posts
28 upvotes
Oakville
The guy on call with the machine I was talking about arrived and hooked up the scanner thing to my control valve then brought the scanner wand outside and cannot confirm after 30 minutes so far whether the spot they marked on driveway is indeed the city valve. The pipes he is picking up are basically hyrdo, gas, etc. Pipes that are like two feet down. He said the water one should be minimum 5.5 feet down.

Now they are going around neighbouring properties to see what his wand tells him.

What a f*cking day.

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