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Worth replacing old valve with ball valve for main water shut off valve?

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  • Oct 22nd, 2018 11:18 pm
[OP]
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Aug 27, 2014
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Worth replacing old valve with ball valve for main water shut off valve?

I have lots of basement-related questions lately.

So I'll likely have a plumber come home and since everything is easily accessible, I'd like to get stuff done.

Would it be worth replacing the old-school gate valve (looks like this: https://s3.amazonaws.com/finehomebuildi ... ves_ld.jpg, not sure of exact name), for our main water shut off, with a ball valve? The house/plumbing is 25 years old.

I like to shut off the water supply when we're away from home for a week or more, which is a couple times a year. And I hear that the ball valves last longer and are easier to shut off in case of emergency. But I do not have any specific issue with the current gate valve.
29 replies
Temp. Banned
Dec 19, 2009
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Replace it now ... the day will come when it won't shut off when you are flooding and you don't ever want to see that day. Or if you do get it shut off and it won't open back up.
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FYI that’s a globe valve not a gate
Last edited by Red_Army on Oct 10th, 2018 4:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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pootza wrote:
Oct 10th, 2018 3:55 pm
Replace it now ... the day will come when it won't shut off when you are flooding and you don't ever want to see that day. Or if you do get it shut off and it won't open back up.
+1, may as we do it know since you already have a guy coming.
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Oct 3, 2011
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You need to call City to shut off their water supply first.
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Jan 25, 2007
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Rockymountain wrote:
Oct 10th, 2018 8:30 pm
You need to call City to shut off their water supply first.
I have a shut off on both sides of the meter. Depends which side OP means I guess. City shutting off water could be free for you to borrow the tool or a few hundred bucks in Mississauga.
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Feb 22, 2007
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as others said, you will need teh city to come shut the water off....


so what i did was....left the shut off as is...and then i installed a ball valve after it (at any point after but before the pipe branches off).

this way i didnt spend money for the city and didn't have to wait for their schedule
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LuxErus wrote:
Oct 10th, 2018 3:21 pm
I have lots of basement-related questions lately.

So I'll likely have a plumber come home and since everything is easily accessible, I'd like to get stuff done.

Would it be worth replacing the old-school gate valve (looks like this: https://s3.amazonaws.com/finehomebuildi ... ves_ld.jpg, not sure of exact name), for our main water shut off, with a ball valve? The house/plumbing is 25 years old.

I like to shut off the water supply when we're away from home for a week or more, which is a couple times a year. And I hear that the ball valves last longer and are easier to shut off in case of emergency. But I do not have any specific issue with the current gate valve.
Since you are at it, I would also change washer and dryer hoses and replace them with a quality stainless steel braided hoses. Also install a backwater valve or a sump pump (depending where you live).
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Jul 23, 2004
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I was also thinking about replacing my plumbing valve. Same type of valve as you have, installed in 1979...

I figured that I could close the current valve and check that it is not leaking. If not leaking I'll just install a second valve further up the main pipe. That way I can just leave the old valve there and never touch it anymore.
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Jan 15, 2010
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AMD wrote:
Oct 11th, 2018 12:12 pm
I figured that I could close the current valve and check that it is not leaking. If not leaking I'll just install a second valve further up the main pipe. That way I can just leave the old valve there and never touch it anymore.
This is what I was thinking of getting done. Any negatives to doing it this way?
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LuxErus wrote:
Oct 10th, 2018 3:21 pm
I have lots of basement-related questions lately.

So I'll likely have a plumber come home and since everything is easily accessible, I'd like to get stuff done.

Would it be worth replacing the old-school gate valve (looks like this: https://s3.amazonaws.com/finehomebuildi ... ves_ld.jpg, not sure of exact name), for our main water shut off, with a ball valve? The house/plumbing is 25 years old.

I like to shut off the water supply when we're away from home for a week or more, which is a couple times a year. And I hear that the ball valves last longer and are easier to shut off in case of emergency. But I do not have any specific issue with the current gate valve.
Mine also sucks. I'm just going to shut off the water and add another (new) shutoff valve somewhere down the water line.

It's simple job that will take 5 minutes. They even have the Sharkbite valves now that you simply "push" in. Easy job.
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AMD wrote:
Oct 11th, 2018 12:12 pm
If not leaking I'll just install a second valve further up the main pipe. That way I can just leave the old valve there and never touch it anymore.
My coworker went to shut off his main water valve to do some work upstairs and it started leaking. He had to call city and I think he paid $150 for them to shut off so he could have plumber replace with new valve. Total damage was about $450 plus a very upset wife for 36 hours.

My main shut off in my home is probably original and 17 years old. I am fearful of the same thing happening so I installed a newer and hopefully better shut off after the old one. It doesn't have a rubber seal that can get dry and crack but nylon. So will just stop using original one going forward.
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Jan 2, 2012
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If you are opening and closing your main shut off a couple times a year, you probably don't need to replace anything.
The real problem arises when the valve never gets 'exercised', and seizes up.
It doesn't hurt to have a ball valve past the meter, though.

On a similar note: I used to bitch about builders cheaping out by not installing shut offs at every fixture. I've since decided that it's actually better that they haven't, because; i): They inevitably are either frozen open or leak if disturbed, and, ii): The main shut off gets exercised once in a while.
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Jerico wrote:
Oct 10th, 2018 8:59 pm
.City shutting off water could be free for you to borrow the tool or a few hundred bucks in Mississauga.
That's a very risky proposition to mess with that curb shut off.
I wish I'd bookmarked it, but there was a YouTube of some plumbers who requested the City of Toronto to shut off a supply at the curb, so they could change out a townhouse unit's main shut off. It was somewhere along Finch Ave, IIRC.
City arrived, then snapped off the curb side valve. In order to dig up and replace the curb side valve, they had to go out to the main street. They then managed to break off that shut off . In order to replace that, they had to shut off the supply for thousands of homes.
The plumber thought was hilarious, and estimated it at about $30,000 in overtime (not out of his pocket of course). Had he messed with it, it would have been a different story.
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Apr 26, 2013
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I'd replace the building control valve to something newer and don't forgot to regularly exercise it.

As for stacking valves (installing one above the other) I'd check with your municipality as it may be against by laws.

Depending on where you live I would get the city to shut of the water at the curb box/corporation stop. In most places it's between $100-$200, in some you can even pick up the key at the local fire station or water department and do it yourself. If you do to yourself, or hire a plumber; the valve breaks and they weren't authorized to use it you're looking at a very costly repair.

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