Replacing main water shut off valve

Main water shutoff valves can become clogged with mineral deposits and grit, causing slow leaks. With the right materials and correct procedure, it’s a safe and easy repair. It’s frustrating when you experience gradual leaks. And, what’s the cause of those? Well, mineral deposits and grits could block off the cutoff valves! 

Replacing the main shut-off valve is quite easy and requires three steps only. First, locate the valve, then test the valve. And finally, remove the valve and place a new one. While you replace it, make sure you’re doing it fast. Otherwise, you might lose gallons of water. 

Here are some tips about replacing the main water shut off valve:


1. Locate The Main Shut-off Valve

It’s a common problem finding the main shutoff valve. As it’s not located somewhere you can easily find it, most people cannot find it. 

Firstly, look for the main water shutoff valve on the inside of your house. It’ll usually be situated on the home’s perimeter. This is where the water plunges into the house first. Also, this is where the water main generally starts at the street and runs straight to your house. 

2. Prepare the Work Area

While the goal is to quickly and easily remove and replace the main water shutoff valve, it’s important to prepare the area to make the process as streamlined as possible.

Attach the jumper cables to the pipe on either side of the valve. The electrical system is commonly grounded through the main water line, so by attaching the jumper cables, you create a path for the electricity to flow in the case of a short in the system. Lay down a drop cloth and set up a bucket underneath the valve with a towel close at hand to wipe up any water that may miss the bucket. Take out the flux paste, blow torch, grit cloth, pipe brush, new ball valve, pipe cutter, channel locks, fire extinguisher, soldering blanket, a roll of solder, gloves, and safety glasses. Arrange these supplies so that they are within reach and neatly organized.

3. Turn off water 

Once you’re oriented and know where your main water shut-off valve is, you’ll need to turn off the water. If you haven’t done this before or feel unsure how to do it, I recommend calling your water company to cut off the water to your house. Usually, they can do this the day you call. 

You’ll also want to make sure you have a plan of how you’re going to replace your valve before you start cutting pipes open. Sometimes it’s as easy as changing the old valve to the new valve. However, in some cases, you need to do a little planning.

4. Install the New Valve

You probably have a 3/4-inches pipe leading to and from the leaky valve. Buy a threaded replacement ball valve; it’s a far better choice than the older gate-style valve. Screw on the new ball valve, install the old nipple and the new leather washer (use Teflon tape or pipe dope on the threads). Tighten the coupling nut, turn on the water and check for leaks.

5. Buy a Leather Washer 

Since you have to replace the leather washer, you have to get a new one. Leather washers are difficult to come by. So search for them in a plumbing supply store or search online. Some plumbing supply houses sell neoprene washers but neoprene ultimately dries up and cracks. So, I highly suggest going for a leather washer. 

6. Recharge the Plumbing System

With the new valve installed and leak-free, you can recharge the plumbing system by turning on the water and opening nearby faucets. The water will slowly begin to pour out of the faucet, pushing air out of the system.

You will know that the system is fully recharged when there is no longer air coming out of any plumbing fixtures in the home, including faucets, showerheads, and toilets. 

End Words

Now you know how to replace the main shut-off valve without turning off the water. We’ve given you the complete guide. But if you face issues, get a plumber to fix them. 

Plumbing 911 is a family-owned and operated company servicing Medina, Stark, Portage, Summit, Cuyahoga, and Lake counties. If you need any help with replacing the main shut-off valve, our expert technicians will be able to remedy the problem for you.

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