Main Water Shutoff Leak

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by TomSC, May 29, 2019.

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  1. May 29, 2019 #1

    TomSC

    TomSC

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    CF84A4AC-1987-4649-8725-ACA5ED56AFA0.jpeg 9BBA0516-843B-45F9-B6DD-1AA783DA4FB5.jpeg My main water shutoff valve is developing a slow leak. It looks like the leak is coming from the packing nut. I’m a little hesitant to tighten it a quarter turn because i don’t want a slow leak to turn into a steady stream.

    The house is about 60 years old so I’m also wondering if maybe the valve itself just needs to be replaced, it looks like it’s seen better days.

    Would me trying to tighten the nut on the gate valve a quarter turn fix this? Or is it best to call a professional plumber? Any tips or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. May 29, 2019 #2

    Geofd

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    yes the valve should be replaced...are you sure the valve is opened all the way sometimes they will leak until opened all the way.....tightening the packing may or may not work....if you try to tighten it make sure you brace the valve when you tighten that valve almost looks like a compression valve but its hard to tell
     
  3. May 29, 2019 #3

    Diehard

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    My experience with shut off valve stem packing leaks is as Geofd mentioned. I find if it's not completely open, it's more apt to leak. But when I do fully open it (reasonably snug) it may continue to drip a lesser amount and then eventually stop entirely, after a while.
    As far as tighten the packing nut, not necessarily a quarter turn though. Just tighten it a bit. Unless it's loose, of course. And then maybe a bit more if it's still leaking and you feel it can take a bit more tightening.
     
  4. May 29, 2019 #4

    TomSC

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    Thanks for the replies. I was able to open the valve a little bit more but unfortunately the leak actually got a little worse. I’ll wait to see if it starts to subside a bit, if not I’ll try tightening it.
     
  5. May 29, 2019 #5

    FishScreener

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    Turn the water off, undo the screw holding the handle on, and remove the handle, and then the packing nut. Install new packing, and tighten the packing nut. REinstall the handle. Turn the water on. Tighten the packing nut if necessary.
     
  6. May 29, 2019 #6

    jeffmattero76

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    I may be mistaken, but it appears that the valve in question is on the utility company''s side of the meter. If so, I believe it would be their responsibility to repair or replace it. If replaced, I would strongly recommend a ball valve.
     
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  7. May 29, 2019 #7

    Diehard

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    Depends on the State and water utility standards.
    For example my state the owner is responsible from the property line in. Water company provides meter in residence.
    Any suggestions for the OP on the packing material?
     
  8. May 29, 2019 #8

    TomSC

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    Thanks for all the responses, lots of good info and insights. I tightened the packing nut last night. That seemed to do the trick for now.
    I’ll have to definitely look into getting it replaced soon. I’ll call the City to check and see if it’s their responsibility. It’s worth a shot at least. I’m a little hesitant to do it myself because it’s the main line and I’m not that experienced. But then again it may save me a few bucks to DIY.
    May be a dumb question but how do I turn the water off if I’m taking apart the main water valve? Do I need to have the city shut off the water from the street?
     
  9. May 29, 2019 #9

    jeffmattero76

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    Yes, At the street.
     
  10. May 29, 2019 #10

    Diehard

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    I believe you can replace the stem packing by simply closing that valve. Once tightly closed the packing nut and packing can be removed. Would be a good idea to make sure it does shut tightly before attempting to replace the packing.

    Of course to replace the valve, the valve at the street, or where ever it's located up stream must be shut off by the water company. No reason to rush into that, if you don't want to.
    Some people install a ball valve after the meter to allow the entire house to shut down in case that old angle globe valve fails to close tightly.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
  11. May 30, 2019 #11

    jeffmattero76

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    In my properties I install ball valves on both sides of the meter.
     
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