Gate Valve For Water Line Breaks Closed – Brooklyn Homeowner Has No Water!

Water Main Service
February 23, 2011

by David Balkan

Water meter diagram

NYC sewer contractorClosing and locating the main water valve and shutting it off properly is something that requires some care and knowledge. As in this case this seemingly simple task results in a property owner left with no water and needing water line repairs when their gate valve breaks in the closed position. This Brooklyn homeowner then needed water main work performed immediately to restore water to the premises.

plumbing truck
The Balkan service fleet

Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service responded to the scene and provided temporary water service free of charge until a water main repair crew could be mobilized. This is done by connecting to a neighbors outside hose connection and takes only a few minutes for an experienced person familiar with water line repairs. Providing free site visits, free estimates, and sometimes even no-charge services is what makes Balkan to premier sewer and water main service company throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx.

If Some Simple Instructions Had Been Followed, It Is Possible The Above Water Line Repairs Would Not Have Been Required. Read On To Learn More.

Locating the main water valve for a house or property is not that complicated. The main control valve for a house is typically located on the inside front wall of the basement or the access pit closest to the public roadway. Sometimes there may be a cabinet with an access door built around the main valve. In NYC most houses and properties now have water meters installed and there are two shut offs present. There would be one valve on the street-side of the meter, and one on the house-side of the meter.

water meter setting

Which valve to close

Whenever there are two main valves present, always close the one on the house-side. This is most important because if the valve is faulty or breaks then the street-side valve acts as a back-up and allows for the other control-valve to be repaired easily. On the other hand, if the street-side valve is used and breaks or is faulty the roadway may have to be opened to do a water line repair. Never operate the street side valve unless there is no other option.

How to close the main water valve

water valve
Water valve – full port ball type

Most main valves are now of the ball type variety. They are as a rule the most dependable and easy to operate but they must have a full port opening. Since the mechanism to operate the device is a bored out metal ball, 1/4 of a turn of the handle closes the water to the house. There is usually a directional handle to instruct which direction to turn the handle.

In the case of a gate valve numerous clock-wise turns will be required. Extra care must be taken with a gate valve as there is a stem that connects the handle to the gate which can be broken unless care is taken. Always apply even pressure to turn the handle, never jerk a main-control-valve or use excessive force. If the stem snaps the shut off valve becomes non-operational. If the stem snaps in the closed position a main valve generally cannot be repaired and water main main service will be interrupted.

brass gate valve

The importance of a high quality valve

A typical high quality main water valve (shut off valve) costs a water main contractor less then $15.00 and should last for decades if it is not abused. There is no reason to skimp on this vital item to save a couple of dollars. Balls valves have proven to be much more reliable and trouble free than typical gate valves. The NYC DEP code requires ball valves to be full-port opening valves, which do not restrict the flow of water into the property.

Saving a dollar or two on a ball valve that restricts the flow of water makes no sense when considering which shut off valve to install as the main valve. For more sewer and water main information visit the Sewer And Water Main Resource Page.

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

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