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The best manual valve for use in a valve box?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Jason Rose, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    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.
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,673

    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.
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799


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

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    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.
  5. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    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...
  6. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    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.
  7. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    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.
  8. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    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?
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

  10. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    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.

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