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View Full Version : The best manual valve for use in a valve box?


Jason Rose
02-08-2006, 10:35 AM
Seems like a rather elementry question, but I see so many problems with the main shut off valves most people have used, thought I'd ask what other guy's use...

Most systems here are on wells and do not have double checks or backflow preventers. There is usually a main shut off valve in a round box that's 2 to 4 feet down. Many have went to the glue-in plastic ball valves with the red handle, they seem to work well but if someone breaks off the ears on the handle you are boned...
The other valves are usually brass threaded gate valves, they are pretty unrelieable, either they won't close tight, the stem leaks, or the handle rusts and comes off.
Brass ball valves work the best, but the long handles on those have to be either bent or cut to fit into a 4" pipe. Many Iv'e seen the handle was galvinized steel and in a few years the handle has rusted and dosn't work right too.

So what do the pro's use?

BTW, this is a 1" or 1 1/4" valve, less than 20 gpm. Would only be turned off for winter then back on again for spring.

Wet_Boots
02-08-2006, 10:59 AM
Use a quarter-turn 'curb stop' valve, like is used for city water service. Nothing to rust. You need to get a curb-stop key to operate them.

Dirty Water
02-08-2006, 08:02 PM
http://www.fordmeterbox.com/media/BMV1.jpg

Brass Ford Ball valves. Best ball valve on the market.

PurpHaze
02-08-2006, 09:04 PM
That's basically the same as the curb stop Boots was mentioning.

Now, you want to talk BIG (3" and up), good and expensive valves the resilient wedge gate valve (sometimes called a fire main valve) can't be beat. It's what a lot of water companies in our area use as street isolation valves and for iso valves on fire hydrants. Takes the 2-1/4" square water key and they come in different lengths and even telescoping ones.

Jason Rose
02-08-2006, 09:14 PM
Will Ewing Irrigation have curb stop valves? I wonder why I have never seen one of those used for irrigation? Price, I would assume? 10 bucks for a brass gate valve, 6 for a plastic ball valve and $50? for the curb stop...

Given the location of the valve it's not wise to scrimp on quality. It's located 42" deep UNDER a 2' x 4' CONCRETE poured valve box that houses 6- 1" valves. The idiot that installed this box did several dozen that I know of, some are smahed up against the house foundation too, this one is about 6" out from a window well. The solenoid valves are butted against each other tight so when one goes the whole box has to be sledge hammered out!
I'm going to TRY to replace the main valve without disturbing the rest of the box...

PurpHaze
02-08-2006, 09:24 PM
I'm not sure if Ewing carries curb stops or not. Probably doubtful. We get ours from plumbing supply house when we need them.

Considering that the main valve is that deep I would not scrimp on price and get a good valve. If you can get to the valve and main where it's at you might try raising the valve to a higher level where it would be more accessible. Unless the system is iffy a couple of 90s to bring the valve up and then take the main back down for connection might be possible.

bicmudpuppy
02-08-2006, 09:41 PM
A curb stop or drain and waste with a handle like the valve Jon pictured if you insist on planting it 42" deep. A quality globe angle valve will serve if the main is deep. Make sure you are vertically above the main and install a brass globe angle valve. They are reliable and repairable. Install the backflow directly to the globe angle. On a side note about the valve Jon pictured, what about draining. I like drain and wastes for this reason. Curb stops and drain and wastes should be available at your local plumbing wholesale supplier.

Jason Rose
02-08-2006, 09:51 PM
I was thinking seriously about bringing it up higher. The only reason they are at that depth is because that's the code depth for the water line coming into the house (give or take 6", we were measuring from the top of the concrete box). I would think 16" would be plenty deep for this region, 12 to 16" is the depth for most all irrigation. I was just concerned since it would have pressure on one side all the time, actually water on both sides all the time since there's no way to blow it out of there. I guess an angle valve would be better since it would be a straight shot down to below the frost line, not like it ever freezes deeper than 6" here though...

Oh, I have always used male adapters... I see that many of you do not. You use female adapters and threaded Sch 80 nipples from what Iv'e read. Is that what I should switch too? Or am I fine with male adapters?

bicmudpuppy
02-08-2006, 09:56 PM
[QUOTE=Jason Rose]I was thinking seriously about bringing it up higher. The only reason they are at that depth is because that's the code depth for the water line coming into the house (give or take 6", we were measuring from the top of the concrete box). I would think 16" would be plenty deep for this region, 12 to 16" is the depth for most all irrigation. I was just concerned since it would have pressure on one side all the time, actually water on both sides all the time since there's no way to blow it out of there. I guess an angle valve would be better since it would be a straight shot down to below the frost line, not like it ever freezes deeper than 6" here though...
QUOTE]
Frost hasn't been more than an inch or so all winter this year, now has it? If it doen'st rain again soon, we might have to risk turning things back on early. They are talking about near 60 mid week next week here again. Did we have winter and I missed it?

bicmudpuppy
02-08-2006, 10:01 PM
Oh, I have always used male adapters... I see that many of you do not. You use female adapters and threaded Sch 80 nipples from what Iv'e read. Is that what I should switch too? Or am I fine with male adapters?
Female PVC would be a bad idea. Sch 80 nipples vs MA depends on application and cost. If you can get a good buy on 1x4" sch 80 nipples........then they would be cheaper than MAs and there is no question. Or, if you want more length, even 1x12" shc 80 nipples cut to fit your situation, but now we have an increased cost for sure. Hayes likes the sch 80, but he is dealing with large pipe and commercial areas. For residential, I would recomend staying with MA for the cost. But, then I am a slip valve fan and avoid using either except in repair situations.

PurpHaze
02-08-2006, 10:10 PM
Frost hasn't been more than an inch or so all winter this year, now has it? If it doen'st rain again soon, we might have to risk turning things back on early. They are talking about near 60 mid week next week here again. Did we have winter and I missed it?

We've been around 70 here and it's supposed to continue for several more days. I'm not taking a Thermos of coffee again until it cools down and I actually have started to put the sun screen on already because I'm down to T-shirt by about 8 am.

Dirty Water
02-08-2006, 10:26 PM
Bryan, no need for a draining valve here, we are in the land of 1" freeze depth.

PurpHaze
02-08-2006, 10:27 PM
Oh, I have always used male adapters... I see that many of you do not. You use female adapters and threaded Sch 80 nipples from what Iv'e read. Is that what I should switch too? Or am I fine with male adapters?

I don't have anything against MAs other than I hate, detest, despise, disdain, scorn, spurn and just plain don't like them. :p

Here's valve #15 (out of 24 we have to change out) on the current repair project. The MA on the left is 2" while the MA on the right (inlet side) is a 2-1/2" x 2" one. Every one of these suckers was installed improperly and was leaking. We're not even putting the old valves back in (new ones all around) because they've been leaking so long that we've actually found water etching on some of the valve threads. Better to put new valves in and be sure we won't have to go back on this particular problem for maybe 25 years. We'll wash off the valves and then gut them, saving the diaphrams and bonnets, etc. Then we can use them to "replace" failed valves at other sites in the future.

Wet_Boots
02-09-2006, 12:14 AM
<img align=right src=http://img56.imageshack.us/img56/8128/respectmyauthority27ui.gif>The bandwidth police looked up from their doughnuts, and mentioned that large images can be compressed even more than small ones, for website viewing, and one can also use Ifanview to crop a photo. (think Star Trek - <i>"More compression, Mister Scott." ~ "Cap'n, she can't take any more!"</i>)

PurpHaze
02-09-2006, 08:12 AM
Uh, oh... busted by the Compression Police again. :laugh:

I figured 75% was adequate since it dropped it from over 500k down to 100+. :p

Wet_Boots
02-09-2006, 10:47 AM
For larger pictures, you could probably set the slider as low as 20 and still get a viewable image, not that you'd do that for something you'd make a print of. The edited photo was cropped and sharpened, before saving it with compression, using another editing program, Paint Shop Pro, which is very much like Photoshop, except for the price tag.

But getting back to the OP's question of where to get these things, I would be looking for a Waterworks supply house. These are the guys selling to city water departments. They usually get their own category in the yellow pages. If the supply house doesn't have the Ford brand, there are others in the same weight class, like Mueller. These valves can be supplied with compression inlets and outlets, which is how the water departments might specify them, since they require secure mechanical connections for their curb stops. Nothing glued or soldered would be allowed.

I'd be curious to see some photos of this particular installation. There might be more recommendations.

Jason Rose
02-13-2006, 10:45 PM
Just thought I'd leave a link here for you guys that I had asked for a little help from the other day. I know I didn't go the curb-stop route, but I think the valve I ended up with is a good one.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=133259