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Water Shutoff Valve problem
Old 05-09-2010, 04:47 PM   #1
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Water Shutoff Valve problem

I found a little problem in my basement today. The shutoff to my outdoor water sprinkler was dripping from the faucet into a bucket and bucket overflowed. The water dripped very close to the furnace and water heater, actually flowing under the water heater into a floor drain.

Anyway I was able to empty the bucket but the shutoff valve handle looks terrible. The picture probably isn't too clear. Should I be concerned about it and call a plumber tomorrow?
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:53 PM   #2
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Hard to tell by looks. I'd clean it up and see if it functions well mechanically. IE Check to see if you can open and close it, make sure it isn't leaking, etc.

I'd get on top of that outdoor water sprinkler leak pronto. Probably not a huge deal, but way to easy to forget about when you go on a trip.

You can't enlighten the unconscious.
But you can hit'em upside the head a few times to make sure they are really out...
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:58 PM   #3
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Thank you so much. I hate to think about any kind of indoor water to nip it in the bud before it becomes a BIG headache. Thanks!!
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:22 PM   #4
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I have a ball valve (the main shutoff to my indoor plumbing) that looks just like that--rusty handle, etc. Believe it or not, it doesn't leak (anymore) to the outside, and it seems to operate okay. Maybe yours will work, too. Mine's non-critical, since it's not in a place that can be damaged by water and I can turn off my well pump as an alternate means to stop water flow into the house.

Other comments/ideas:
- Can you thread a hose onto the faucet and thereby send the water someplace harmless until you can get this fixed? Or, buy a blank cap with a female thread that is the same as a hose and just screw it onto the output of the faucet as a temporary measure.
- Replacing the faucet us probably an easy DIY project, no need to call a plumber if you are handy. If the faucet is threaded onto a fitting, just buy a replacement faucet and replace the current one. Be sure to use a wrench (pipe wrench, vise grips, or channel locks if you've got a strong grip) to hold the pipe as you twist the faucet so you don't damage a joint somewhere else. There are ways to repair the existing faucet, too--it might be as simple as a washer or valve seat that needs replacing.
- If you need to replace that nasty-looking ball valve, you could use the new "Sharkbite" (or others with a similar operating principle) fittings. They grip really well and you don't need to learn to use a torch. Similarly, if the hose bib is soldered to the pipe rather than connected with a threaded coupling, you could use one of the Sharkbite fittings to connect the new faucet.

Tips learned the hard way:
- Never start a voluntary plumbing project late in the day. Once the hardware stores close, your options get limited in a hurry.
- Before starting a plumbing project, put at least ten gallons of water in the tub and fill up a jug for drinking water. Then, if the worst happens and you have to turn off the water for the night, you've got water to drink, enough water for a sponge bath and to wash your hair, and enough water to flush the toilets (using a bucket) a few times.
- When you are at the hardware store, buy everything you might need for the job. (not sure if that drain trap was 2 1/4" or 2 1/2"? Buy both). Take all the extra stuff back to the store the next day.
- For those who want an extra bit of insurance: Buy threaded caps for all the hoses in your house and store them right next to the valve so you'll have them ready in an emergency. When the hose breaks and the valve can't be fully turned off, this is how you can stop the water until you can fix it yourself or get a plumber. Examples of caps to buy:
-- For the threaded output from the valve at the wall under every toilet
-- For the threaded output from the valves below your sink faucets.
-- For the threaded output for the valve serving your dishwasher
-- For the threaded output for the valves serving your washing machine
-- For the threaded output for the valve serving your icemaker or other drinking water tap.
-- For any hose bibs or hydrants.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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I hope it's still good but it really looks horrible. I will have my lawn guy take a look at it when he comes in this week. I'm not quite as worried about it now after you guys replied to my post. I don't know enough about my house's innards...I know some but not enough. I am pretty good at calling plumbers tho.
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