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It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: wurm
Date: November 12, 2011 12:01PM
If it's Saturday, I must be dealing with the little things around the house that need to be dealt with.

I was going to bring in the hoses and turn off the outdoor water for the season, and discovered that the supply to one of the outside spigots doesn't shut the water off completely. I vaguely remember dealing with a leak at the inside shutoff last year, but I futzed around with a washer and tightened the packing nut and it seemed to do the trick. Well, now there's no leak, but it doesn't shut the water off completely.

Everything I'm reading says how these old gate valves wear out and that a ball valve is the way to go. Well, I'm not about to fire up a torch or do any welding or soldering, so I start reading about these new Gator Bite (Lowes) and Sharkbite (Home Depot) valves and they seem like they could be an easy answer. Lots of positive reviews.

Anyone here familiar with them? Any other ideas that don't involve soldering or hiring a plumber? Thanks.

edited to add pic of existing





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2011 12:16PM by wurm.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: November 12, 2011 12:19PM
Is it a "frost proof" spigot ? If it is they are designed to trickle out for a bit after they are shut off
(this is why they don't freeze) Many people make the mistake of over tightening them trying make
them quit leaking. This will over compress the seals and then it will leak.

Before replacing it I would replace the seat washer. Remove the whole stem and take it to the hardware store
to get the proper fit. The old one will be too smashed to get the proper one. After replacing the seat washer
shut it off and give it a minute to drain out (if frost free) Worst case is that you can still replace it if needed.

<edit>

OK - I thought it was the spigot and not the shut off. I would still try a replacement washer first. I have used
a variant of the shark bites and they have worked fine. I would not trust the inside a sealed wall though.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2011 12:23PM by lafinfil.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 12, 2011 12:25PM
If you are physically able to I would highly recommend doing the soldering, and replacing that old valve with a ball one. Even though it might seem daunting it's really not that bad, and once you've done it people will really admire your skills. Out of all the plumbing fittings, a soldered connection is one of the easiest and most reliable ones to deal with.

The hardest part is getting all the materials you might need, proper sized fittings and such, but you would have to do that with any other connection.

Biggest tip I can give is to make sure you let the water drain out of the pipe before trying to solder. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but any water left in the pipes will soak up the heat from the torch and make the job take much longer.

Looks like a relatively accessible connection from what I can see in the photo. All you would need to do is remove the old valve, which may require cutting off one side, then de-soldering the other. Actually what I would do is just cut out the center section of the valve with a reciprocating saw to remove it, then you can de-solder both sides without sacrificing any copper pipe. You'll have to clean up both sides to make sure there is no solder left over, and then use a fine sand paper to prep the surface for new solder.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: BernDog
Date: November 12, 2011 12:29PM
As far as replacement, I've never used them, but I'm sure either of those valve you linked to would be fine. Otherwise, standard copper compression fittings along with a regular ball valve would work just as well if you want to avoid soldering
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: wurm
Date: November 12, 2011 12:30PM
Thanks for the quick reply. I'd like to think they installed a frost free (since we are in New England), but I don't know for certain. Even if it is, it trickled for a long while before I decided to shut it off at the outside spigot just so it wouldn't continue forever.

And just to be clear, the outside spigot does shut off completely. If I leave it open to remove water in the pipes, it trickles out because the inside shutoff valve doesn't seem to want to shut off the water.

So assuming you do mean the inside shutoff, what do you mean by "remove the whole stem"? And I would assume I'd have to shut off the main house water supply first.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: wurm
Date: November 12, 2011 12:39PM
That reply above was to 'fil's comments. While I was writing, mikebw and BernDog followed up.

Easy as it may be, if I thought it definitely required soldering, I'd hire a plumber. I've come to realize that there are things that even if I could do, I wouldn't trust myself to do right. Soldering is right up there.

FYI, the valve is fairly easily accessible, but there's not a whole lot of room to work on it. I have to reach through about a foot and a half opening to access it.

If I wanted to try to "fix" the existing gate valve, can I replace the necessary inside parts without removing it from the copper pipe?
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 12, 2011 01:15PM
The most important thing is that it doesn't leak. Do that in whatever way makes you the most comfortable and you win.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: November 12, 2011 01:26PM
The outside spigot would be the one that is frost free, not the inside shut off.

"what do you mean by "remove the whole stem"?

The stem is what the handle attaches to, and has the washer on the other end. It is likely that the washer is old and not sealing properly.

Remove the screw holding the handle on and remove handle. You now need to unscrew the large nut holding the stem in the shut offs body. You will want to keep the body from moving (risks breaking joint) I would use a pipe wrench or large channel lock pliers to cradle it and then use a crescent wrench to unscrew the stem. There will be a small washer/seat on the end of the stem (usually sits down in a shallow area) The washer is likely compressed or deformed so taking the whole stem in will allow to get a correct replacement. Get a packing washer too while you're at it.

[www.familyhandyman.com]



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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: dad@home
Date: November 12, 2011 02:05PM
I just used Lowe's Gator Bites to re-do the plumbing in a bathroom I'm remodeling. Went together easily (make sure you mark the pipe with a pencil to make sure you push it on far enough) and so far no leaks.

dad
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: November 12, 2011 02:12PM
Heh, I had to do some plumbing work, so I bought a torch and some solder and flux and a length of copper pipe and a bunch of fittings, and I practiced. I thought it would be fun. It was a disaster. Twenty elbows, eight feet of pipe later, I hadn't made a single good fitting.

Being a little bit obstinate, I went back and bought another 8' of pipe, determined to master such a basic skill. The first attempt was good. The second was beautiful. The third made me weep, it was so perfect. It turns out, the first 1/2" pipe I was practicing on was a little smaller than 1/2". Funny, right? I had no idea that could happen.

Anyhow, it's a handy skill. But when I needed a new water heater I called a pro to install the beast and vent it properly, and replumb the rats nest in my garage. He did a fine job. And you know what? In a couple places he used sharkbite fittings. If it's good enough for him...
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: Black
Date: November 12, 2011 03:06PM
Helpful film:
[www.youtube.com]
Consensus per poking around various contractor and plumbing forums seems to be that Shark Bites can work well but for anything long term soldering is desired. Considering the pipe you want to access is exposed I'd probably go with a Shark Bite since it can be easily monitored and replaced if necessary.




New forum user map 8/2015: [www.zeemaps.com]
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: wurm
Date: November 12, 2011 03:45PM
Thanks. I decided to visit Lowes and see what they had for replacement parts for the gate valve. They had none. I asked about the Gator Bite ball valve and the guy was very helpful and says that he uses them quite a bit and really likes them. He showed me how they work and I decided to pick one up. At $15 it's a lot cheaper than a plumber...assuming it works. I'm going to give it a try tomorrow and I'm sure you'll hear whether it worked well (or not).

Thanks for the replies. And thanks for the YouTube link, black. I think the key is to add the word "plumbing" when searching YouTube for "Gator bite" or "sharkbite". ;)
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: billb
Date: November 12, 2011 03:48PM
That should do the trick for ya.

I wouldn't try to eliminate a new inside gate valve even with the longest "frost proof" outdoor shut-offs.
My frost free shut off froze the first Winter after I replaced the old one that had to be 50 years old.
May be OK if you live south of Georgia to not have the inside gate valve.



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The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: wurm
Date: November 12, 2011 04:18PM
Damn it. I just did a preliminary check and it's looks like after cutting the copper pipe just past the solder on the existing gate valve, there's not going to be enough pipe to insert the required 1"+ into each end of the new Gator Bite ball valve.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: billb
Date: November 12, 2011 04:23PM
6 inches of pipe and a sharkbite straight coupling



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: wurm
Date: November 12, 2011 05:11PM
Yeah, I was thinking along the lines of something like that. Or do I take the opportunity to buy a whole new (frost free) sillcock and attach new copper pipe long enough to reach the new Gator Bite ball valve? But the ends on the frost free sillcocks are threaded. So how does that get connected to the copper pipe? Are we back to soldering?

Maybe it's back to trying to replace a washer in the existing gate valve as 'fil mentioned in his post.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: November 12, 2011 05:42PM
You're working on the wrong pipe!!

[forums.macresource.com]
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 12, 2011 05:54PM
Just cap it off for the winter. No leaks- GUARANTEED!!
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: billb
Date: November 12, 2011 06:10PM
I'd rather have the gate valve inside and Sunday for something else.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
[soundcloud.com]
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: November 12, 2011 06:18PM
Forget the frost free sillcocks - your setup is the way to go, as long as you remember to drain it manually.

My frost free sillcock needed new parts after 15 years - even contacting the manufacturer I was told they didn't have them.

So I got to cut a hole in sheetrock inside to replace the entire sillcock.

Would have been a lot easier with a separate valve inside an a standard faucet on the outside wall.
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Re: It's DIY home repair time again (plumbing)
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: November 13, 2011 05:09PM
We had an American made frost proof sillcock put in when the house was replumbed and now you turn it
until it stops and it actually keeps running, won't stop, then you force to another click and it stops, maybe
I should have bought the cheaper Chinese model. It's not just trickling out on the first stop you can
actually hear it running.

It was this one, Woodford Handwheel Brass Frost Proof Sillcock Valve:
[www.lowes.com]



Grateful11
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