Plumbing Question

My flight leaves for San Francisco in 16 hours. My parents will be away from their house for a while so I suggested they turn off the water main while they are away. Last winter the heat went out; I got it fixed but if no one had been there, the pipes would have frozen and the downstairs would have become a small frozen lake (like my neighbor’s was last winter!)

So I went over to shut off the water main in the basement with my dad to try things out. I found the pressure reducing valve and a shutoff valve between it and the outside. As I turned it off, I noticed that it was starting to leak. By the time it was mostly off, the water was a mostly constant stream. Once off, it was down to a once every 2 seconds drip. I tried opening a turn and closing it to clear debris but each of the three times I did it, the water leaked a little faster while it was open.

Now there is a problem! It’s possible that if I open the valve all the way, it will seat itself and stop leaking. (that’s not the problem). It’s also possible that if I open the valve all the way, the valve will break completely, leaving me with an unstoppable torrent of 75 PSI water!

Since it’s 1 am, I figured it was best to shut off the valve and put a bucket under it til morning. Tomorrow I will call the property owner’s association to see if there is a shutoff valve outside the house. After that, I may call a plumber or (dare I?) try opening the valve all the way.

I heartily welcome any suggestions!

update Before I woke up, my dad turned the water on full, guessing it would be alright (a wild guess, seeing as we both agreed to leave it off last night). I’m glad I didn’t get a morning swim. Now the high pressure valve only drips once a second. Now what? Follow the same plan?


  1. WTL says:

    There *should* be a valve outside as well, but if it is anything like here, I think it takes a special tool to shut it off – but I would imagine that you could hack something that would work.

    Sounds like your valve will need to be looked at.

  2. Lee says:

    Since I’m in San Francisco and my parents are on their way to Florida, my loving sister gets to deal with it.

    (It’ll be: The town water company will shut off the water outside and then a plumber we hire will fix the inside valve.)

  3. Lee says:

    Cool. I’m glad you have a good handle on how to fix it. For who to call, all I know is that you shouldn’t call All Temp in Hackettstown.

Leave a Comment

Do not write "http://" or "https://" in your comment, it will be blocked. It may take a few days for me to manually approve your first comment.