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lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

Can't locate main water shut-off valve

I want to replace 23 years old water wasting toilets and also add shut-off valves under each sink. However, I looked all around the basement but can't find the main water shut-off valve.

My hunch is that it is located behind wall panels in the finished area of the basement. I have an old magnetic nail/stud finder which shows some activity behind one area which could be steel clamps/nails holding the copper pipe.

I want ( a plumber ) to put a new shut-off valve where I can see the cold water pipe near the ceiling of the unfinished area. Could he turn off the water outdoors at the water meter to do this job?


patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

said by lutful:

I want to replace 23 years old water wasting toilets and also add shut-off valves under each sink. However, I looked all around the basement but can't find the main water shut-off valve.

Who built the place that there are no per fixture shutoffs?
said by lutful:

My hunch is that it is located behind wall panels in the finished area of the basement. I have an old magnetic nail/stud finder which shows some activity behind one area which could be steel clamps/nails holding the copper pipe.

Where is the meter? How do they read it?
said by lutful:

I want ( a plumber ) to put a new shut-off valve where I can see the cold water pipe near the ceiling of the unfinished area.

Code illegal, the shutoff must be at the fixture. You can feel free to add more shutoffs whereever you want for maintenance, but there must be one at the fixture.

said by lutful:

Could he turn off the water outdoors at the water meter to do this job?

I hope your toilets aren't fed from the gas meter. The FD chief will say you had some really bad chili last night.

As for a sidewalk meter, I am not familiar with those so I can't comment. How do they not freeze in Canada?


Bubba
GIT-R-DONE
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-19
St. Andrews
reply to lutful

In our area and presume most areas of US, we can turn our incoming water off at the water meter. All the homes I've owned in TN, ARK and MS, the water meter is/was located at the street in front of our homes.



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

said by Bubba:

In our area and presume most areas of US, we can turn our incoming water off at the water meter. All the homes I've owned in TN, ARK and MS, the water meter is/was located at the street in front of our homes.

Every water meter I've ever seen in my area is indoors. It's never been outdoors. Then again, we have a 36" frost line so it would make things a little hard to look at on a monthly basis in the pre-RF days.


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to lutful

Around here every house has a curb shutoff in addition to the home main shut off. You need one of these and a plumber.

»m.homedepot.com/p/5-8-in-x-60-in···0176507/

We had a pipe failure before the house shut off after 3 in of water in the basement we got it shut off at the curb
--
--
--
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley



Bubba
GIT-R-DONE
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-19
St. Andrews
reply to cdru

I digress then.... many areas south of mason dixon is out by street


patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

Every water meter I've ever seen in my area is indoors. It's never been outdoors. Then again, we have a 36" frost line so it would make things a little hard to look at on a monthly basis in the pre-RF days.

There is one sidewalk meter on my block in NYC, but overall its very rare. In the pre-RF days, the meters had a cable going to an electrical connector on the outside of the building. For the sidewalk meters there was a plastic black contactless knob on the manhole cover. I assume the meter reader put a gadget over it to read it.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

reply to patcat88

said by patcat88:

Code illegal, the shutoff must be at the fixture. You can feel free to add more shutoffs whereever you want for maintenance, but there must be one at the fixture.

So are you using current NY code or NY code from 23 years ago to decide this code issue in Ottawa, ON? And are you sure the existing lines weren't grandfathered in under previous codes prior to that.

Regardless, what difference does it matter. If it doesn't have a shutoff now it doesn't have a shutoff. It doesn't change the fact whether it is or isn't against code then or now. And if he is asking to add one, he's fixing the problem anyways.

To the OP, I'd try to trace back from the water heater. Depending on how the pipes are ran you may or may not be able to find it. If it's ran in a finished wall, it could have been covered up. Or it was never there and there was only a shutoff at the street or where ever your main is. If there are similar houses to yours in the area built around the same time, you might check with those owners to see if they have one and where it's located. That might give you an idea if you do have to dig into a wall.

Worst case, a plumber or the city could shut off the line to the house so that one could be added. I've also seen a valve replaced added without shutting it off at the street by freezing the line to plug the water flow. Dry ice and liquid nitrogen have been used. Probably not something you'll want to do without experiencing though as Bad Things™ can happen if you mess it up.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

said by cdru:

Worst case, a plumber or the city could shut off the line to the house so that one could be added. I've also seen a valve replaced added without shutting it off at the street by freezing the line to plug the water flow. Dry ice and liquid nitrogen have been used. Probably not something you'll want to do without experiencing though as Bad Things™ can happen if you mess it up.

Sidewalk valves have a tendency to get paved over during sidewalk replacement in NYC. Rather than use dry ice (or better yet, dry ice, a garbage bag, and alcohol), you can the correct tool »www.ridgid.com/Tools/SF2500-Pipe-Freezer . Warning, price tag says you will be renting it.


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

Every water meter I've ever seen in my area is indoors. It's never been outdoors. Then again, we have a 36" frost line so it would make things a little hard to look at on a monthly basis in the pre-RF days.

I have an indoor meter, at it has a ball valve on each side.
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--


rogersmogers

@start.ca
reply to lutful

What is a water meter?

Heh, never had one of those.


iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada
reply to patcat88

Not sure about NY but here in Ontario there is no code for putting shut off valves for each fixture. I have been to many 10 year old houses without the individual shut offs. Not sure if something changed recently.

Now-a-days meters can be read remotely.



chamberc
Premium
join:2008-08-05
Irving, TX
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

said by Bubba:

In our area and presume most areas of US, we can turn our incoming water off at the water meter. All the homes I've owned in TN, ARK and MS, the water meter is/was located at the street in front of our homes.

Every water meter I've ever seen in my area is indoors. It's never been outdoors. Then again, we have a 36" frost line so it would make things a little hard to look at on a monthly basis in the pre-RF days.

Very different in the south... I've never even heard of a water meter being indoors. They're always by the street in the front yard.


chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to lutful

Like others have said you need to go looking for it in your yard it will look like this


Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL

1 edit
reply to Bubba

said by Bubba:

In our area and presume most areas of US, we can turn our incoming water off at the water meter. All the homes I've owned in TN, ARK and MS, the water meter is/was located at the street in front of our homes.

My mothers neighborhood, brothers and our old house in Chicago all had them outside. Usually on the parkway somewhere. I believe they're called a buffalo box here afaik. The house I'm in now has it inside at the meter in the basement but it must have been due to an upgrade at some point. The old one is still visible near the end of my driveway.

lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

Depending on how the pipes are ran you may or may not be able to find it. If it's ran in a finished wall, it could have been covered up.

After more hunting for nails/clamps with the magnetic stud finder, I think the water supply pipe goes down along the corner into the that unusual protrusion and then outside to the meter.

I will try to have a look at a clone of our house before ripping up the cover.

P.S. City of Ottawa guy said they could come and shut off the water when plumber is here. But we should not mess with the meter.


Western_WA

@frontiernet.net
reply to chamberc

all outside up here too. we do also have main shutoffs in the crawlspace though (at least all the houses i have been in that are 50yrs or younger)



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

reply to chip89

said by chip89:

Like others have said you need to go looking for it in your yard it will look like this

I would love to see a meter box like that in a location north of the line marked 20 on this map.


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

reply to lutful

Looks like a router to me. Ingenious, disguising the water line as a router.



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
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·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
reply to lutful

said by lutful:

After more hunting for nails/clamps with the magnetic stud finder, I think the water supply pipe goes down along the corner into the that unusual protrusion and then outside to the meter.

The meter is outside, that is a new one on me. How do they keep it from freezing?

/tom


Hawk
Riding Thermals
Premium
join:2003-08-25
The Desert
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 recommendation

reply to lutful

Give your local plumber a call and ask him. I work at a 60 year old moderate size (23 service & construction trucks) plumbing company. I ran service for 20 years here and have been the field ops supervisor for the past seven. While I'm in the office in the morning I field calls from people with questions just like this. and try to answer them. If I can't I'll check with one of the other techs who have been here longer than I. Chances are, we've worked on it or in the area. My point being, your local reputable company might be able to assist you as to where your meter/sov is and probably offer a free estimate to resolve the/any issues. I'm still paid by the hour and don't mind helping local potential customers with their questions. We enjoy helping people. It's all good!



Shadow01
Premium
join:2003-10-24
Wasteland
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

said by chip89:

Like others have said you need to go looking for it in your yard it will look like this

I would love to see a meter box like that in a location north of the line marked 20 on this map.

Our meter is outside in a hole about 3 ft deep over here in the Lafayette area. Only time I ever witnessed trouble was during the 78 blizzard when we had about 20 days below zero. most around here stuffed the meter hole with news papers and burned them to unfreeze the line.


Hawk
Riding Thermals
Premium
join:2003-08-25
The Desert
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

2 edits
reply to lutful

P.S. City of Ottawa guy said they could come and shut off the water when plumber is here. But we should not mess with the meter.

Good advice for everyone. The local water authorities here will charge you an arm and a leg if the homeowner or plumber damages or breaks the meter or shut off (on their side). It gets real expensive! Sorry I screwed up the quote



Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL

2 recommendations

reply to tschmidt

said by tschmidt:

said by lutful:

After more hunting for nails/clamps with the magnetic stud finder, I think the water supply pipe goes down along the corner into the that unusual protrusion and then outside to the meter.

The meter is outside, that is a new one on me. How do they keep it from freezing?

/tom

When I had some plumbing done in my house in chicago, they have a tool to unscrew the cap of the Buffalo box. Then like a four foot long T-shaped pole with a key on the end to turn off the supply. So what you see above ground isn't actually the water line. It's more like a cover.

[edit]
It looks like this




They unscrew this then there's a pipe that leads down to the valve. Can't find a picture of that but it's below the frost line.


agtle

@teksavvy.com
reply to iLearn

said by iLearn:

Not sure about NY but here in Ontario there is no code for putting shut off valves for each fixture.

in Ontario plumbing is inspected/enforced by the local municipality, not a provincial agency (to compare, electrical work is inspected by ESA, a provincial agency) ... but the rules are (generally) in Ontario Building Code section 7 - however, the municipality may choose to have stricter requirements. therefore, it is difficult to speak to requirements for all of Ontario, since they can vary from city to city. for example, in my city, fixture shutoffs are required; and one is "technically" required to have a permit/inspection for something as simple as a fixture replacement.


goofy01

join:2004-02-05
Hammond, IN
reply to Jon

Jon, that is just the outside shutoff. Inside it usually shut off valves on both sides of the meter. That's how it was at my parents house in Chicago and my house in Hammond.


scross

join:2002-09-13
Cordova, TN
reply to lutful

Our inside water shutoff is in one of our hall closets - a completely unexpected place for me to have found it on move-in day 25 years ago. And of course it was completely covered with stuff, and therefore almost completely unaccessible, from that day forward. I've frequently fussed at my wife about keeping that area relatively clear so I can get to it when I need to, but she doesn't listen.



AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to cdru

i've seen outdoor buried water meters in the NYC area.


lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

2 edits
reply to Jon

said by Jon:

They unscrew this then there's a pipe that leads down to the valve. Can't find a picture of that but it's below the frost line.

We do have one of those rusted circular access points in the front yard but it is about 10ft from that basement corner and also buried under lots of snow and ice at this moment. However, they are somehow reading the meter (from the outside) even in winter.

I will open the cover of the enclosure tomorrow and post a photo of what is there - hopefully not a bunch of rats. I regret not being more curious about the plumbing and HVAC stuff all these years.

*** Found official info. Water meter is supposed to be on the front wall of basement which includes that corner enclosure. But the recently installed radio transmitter is obviously outside since nobody came into the house.

»ottawa.ca/en/residents/water-and···r-meters


Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL
reply to goofy01

said by goofy01:

Jon, that is just the outside shutoff. Inside it usually shut off valves on both sides of the meter. That's how it was at my parents house in Chicago and my house in Hammond.

Yeah that's what I meant. Main shut off I guess. We didn't have an inside shut off or at least that's what the plumber said. He used those tools I described above.

One of these »www.wagerco.com/trumbull/page9&1···&10.html

He also added a shut off where supply came into the house while he was at it.