I just recently purchased a house that was built in 1979 with galvanized plumbing. The water main just outside the house looks like this:

Water main shutoff

I'm planning to replace it, but I want to make sure it's done right. Disassembly isn't going to be that tough (cut the PVC, spin the tee off the stub), but when I put it back together, I want to make sure I have the right fittings in place.

My thoughts are to do the same thing, but I'm wondering if I should have at least one union in there somehow. I was considering having one between the stub and the tee, then one between the shutoff valve and the tee, but I have a feeling that may be overkill.

Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

  • 1
    call the water company, if they see any tampering before the meter they'll accuse you of stealing water Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 20:03
  • I'm not terribly concerned about that. The water meter is easily accessible, the local hardware stores sell water meter keys, and there are no locks or tamper-resistant seals anywhere. Everyone I've talked to in the area said that everything on the house-side of the water meter is my responsibility as well.
    – Skudd
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 2:09
  • 1
    I have to ask: what does the part of the pipe that's underground look like? This might not be the time for half-measures.
    – kdgregory
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 14:13
  • The underground pipe, I believe, is all (C?)PVC.
    – Skudd
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


I don't see the need for a union, just one more expense. I would replace the shut off valve with a ball valve, it will give better flow. Also I would go with copper pipe, not the galvanized.

EDIT: Normally the Electrical Breaker Panel needs to be grounded to the water main. Because you have a non-conductive PVC water main, I believe NEC code requires that there be two ground rods connected to the Breaker Panel ground-Neutral bus bar. You should check your local codes to see if your's is up to date.

  • 2
    Gate valve? Use a ball valve, 1/4 turn on/off, less likely to get stuck open/closed.
    – Tester101
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 15:00
  • @Tester101- Your right! I meant to say ball valve, but in a senior moment it came out gate valve:)
    – SteveR
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 15:53
  • Eventually I would like to re-plumb the entire house. But for the moment, that's not an expense I want to mess with.
    – Skudd
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 18:33
  • If you go with a ball value make sure you use one with an integral non return as the one that's there now looks like a jumper value type with has non-return in its design.
    – UNECS
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 11:43
  • @SteveR: To your edit, the electrical panel is grounded to the gas main and to an earth ground. The inspector said that this is what local code requires. Also, I did end up putting a union in there, because there was not enough flex in the plastic pipe to get it into a joint at assembly time.
    – Skudd
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 22:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.