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I have a leaky spigot that I am trying to fix.

I followed the water line back and found this.

Does anyone know what it is? Can it be used to stop the flow of water?

enter image description here

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what does that label say it might contain a hint. hint, hint, –  ratchet freak Jan 28 '12 at 20:40
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4 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Having replaced a couple of those before in my own home, I am virtually 100% certain it is a pressure regulating valve. You can tell from the bell housing on top that it is what I say it is. See that all the examples I've shown below show the same bell housing, with a bolt on the top, and even a metal tag hanging off that bolt.

Pressurevalves

While the bolt can be turned with a wrench to adjust the pressure in your house, this is not a water shut-off valve, nor would I try to use it for that purpose.

Note that the valve has seen some time since installation and trying to completely turn off the water using it, EVEN IF YOU COULD DO SO, will very possibly cause it to completely fail to do its job properly in the future, thereby causing yet a different plumbing problem to solve later.

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100% pressure regulator not used as a shut off. the tag on top should say the pressure differentials. like (20 - 60 psi) adjustable by loosening the 2 nuts on the bolt on top. and the turning the bolt inward,clockwise to raise pressure. or outward,counter clockwise to lower the pressure. the main shut off to the house condo whatever should be toward the street in a ground box that says water on it. has a metal or concrete lid very heavy, lots of bugs in there as well. good luck

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Might be a pressure regulator. Looks like it has an adjustment bolt on top.

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I'm not 100% certain, but I believe that is a backflow preventer valve. It cannot be used to shut off your water, and it could even be a violation to tamper with it.

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Why the down vote? You could have simply posted a correcting comment (Yes, I was wrong...a pressure regulator is probably correct) –  DaveNay Jan 29 '12 at 13:42
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Down-votes are used to indicate that the answer is wrong. You can delete it if you want. –  ChrisF Jan 29 '12 at 15:14
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