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My main water shutoff valve no longer turns, and getting the city to come and shut water off at the curb is a bureaucratic hassle. I'd therefore like to install a valve without being able to shut off the water to the house. My thought is to cut the pipe downstream from the existing valve and install a new valve there, then use the new valve as the shutoff for the house.

Is it possible to install a Sharkbite (or other push-to-connect) valve on a pipe that is fully running? I assume I'd get pretty wet, but is there any reason why this wouldn't get the job done?

The water line into the house is 3/4-inch copper.

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    In Dallas Texas USA nearly everyone uses the city cutoff before the water meter at the street to shut off water. Our houses were built with water cutoffs (brass "gate" valves) in a box in the ground by the slab, but these valves all became frozen. I know of one person who has had this set of valves replaced with modern ball valves, but most people just leave them alone. Most of the new owners of these 1970 houses don't even know the valves are there. – Jim Stewart May 5 at 12:42
  • Water pressure in my experience in the US has been 50 - 64 psi and generally on a .75 pipe. I wouldn't even consider it. Just go to the local hardware store and buy the water shut off tool, find the water box at the street and do it yourself. Perfectly within your right. – Micah Montoya May 6 at 12:54
  • Many years ago I had a similar problem. I needed work done (water heater? can't remember). Shutoff inside house (old gate valve) worked ~ 90%. Plumber used utility (next to sidewalk) shutoff (also not perfect ~ 90%) and then worked as fast as he could to cut the pipe just past the house shutoff and install a new ball valve. – manassehkatz May 6 at 14:32
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    If you try it, please post a video – Drew May 6 at 15:22
  • Using a slip valve could work but cutting out the 2 inch section while being blasted with city water pressure would be a challenge – Kris May 7 at 13:44
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Assuming this is inside your house, don't even think about it unless you are prepared to clean up the mess from water a couple of inches deep on the floor (and getting into the rest of the house under the doors, etc), and spray all over the walls.

If you have never tried this before, expect the jet of water to knock things out of your hands, so the job takes even longer while you are wading around in the flood trying to retrieve them!

You don't say what country you are in, but in the UK you should be able to find the shut-off valve on the curb and close it yourself. It's not clear why you need a contractor to do it for you.

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If you have access to a length of pipe prior to where you want to fit that connector then there are systems available to freeze a section of pipe.

But you have to make sure no water is used downstream while you are trying to freeze that section (usually 6 or so inches) otherwise it keeps moving warmer water into the section you are trying to freeze...

  • I use dry ice and freeze pipes works great and stops the flow long enough to cut the pipe and install the new valve.+ – Ed Beal May 7 at 19:34
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I'd say no, not a chance in my opinion. City water pressure will flood you and spray hard once you cut that pipe. You need the water shut off. From my experience with much lower pressure fitting failures and unsuccessfully trying to push a fitting back on to a running pipe.

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If you can let the water run through the pipe while you press in the fitting. First install a valve on the fitting you want to install, leave the valve open so the water runs through. Push the fitting on then shut off the valve you had previously installed.

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There are 3 possible solutions that you can choose from. You can opt for as @solar mike said and freeze the line. I have done this many times and it works as long as no water is being used in the house until the line freezes. I used shaved dry ice in a towel wrapped around the pipe. this method is great but you must use caution to protect your self from the extremely cold dry ice. It can give you frost bite almost instantly. If you know someone that has done this ask him for help. They also sell freeze kits that can be purchased. The 2nd way is to just cut the line and install a valve that you can shut off once you shove it onto the line. This will make a big mess and could flood your home if something goes wrong. I have also done this many times using compression ball valves or gate valves. I did this once at a college and me and the "head of maintenance" got very wet and it made quite a mess. #3 solution, go buy a curb box wrench and turn the water off yourself. However, if any thing breaks it will probably be at your expense.

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I watched a water dept tech change the main ball valve at our meter. He had a special internal closure device (v.i.) that allowed doing this without a geyser.

He said the device will not always work and techs must be able to change the valve with the water on, but it is difficult.

He said whichever way it is done, if something goes wrong a heavy metal part can be propelled out with tremendous speed, and this has happened.

EDIT

IIRC the internal closure device worked like this: With the city valve in the closed position the device is fastened to the stub pipe on the valve and then the valve is opened. The device has a plunger that can be driven through the now open city ball valve into the pipe beyond and then expanded against the walls of the pipe. The city valve can then be replaced with a new one and the process reversed.

I asked what would happen if the internal closure device suddenly gave way and he replied that it had happened and the part was later found in an alley 120 ft away.

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You can buy a water main shut off key and turn it off yourself. You need to find the access port, it will be somewhere between the street and your house in the lawn or yard covering. It a usually about a 4inch round metal cover. It has and odd shape nut, ( 5 sided i believe ) so a normal wrench or socket will not work on it. Channel lock pliers or vise grips may work.

This guy made a key but i have seen them at home depot.

The possibility probability for not being able to get the sharkbite on while the water is running is a concern. If you can not get it on then you have full city water pressure pumping water into your house.

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There are ways to interrupt a live water pipe, but they are complex. Essentially you have to construct a bypass with a shutoff, then pinch the main line. Trust me, you don't want to go there if you don't have to.

I would first just try to shut the city valve yourself. They are usually pretty simple to operate after you dig up the asphalt that some jerk has plastered over the valve plate.

Barring that, try using an anti seize agent on your house valve, and if that doesn't work, then try a propane torch. You ever seen the underside of a car? It's a rust palace. Guess how mechanics get bolts to function on those crap Japanese cars that have every single nut and bolt rusted tight? Propane torch.

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