The shutoff valve for my water main has cracked.

As part of replacing it, I'd like to also replace the corroded copper pipe connected to it. cracked water shutoff valve

What would be the best way to replace the valve and corroded pipe without damaging the connecting pipes? What type of pipe should I replace it with?

Edit: cleaned up the pipes with some wire brushes and sand paper, and they're actually copper pipes! cleaned up pipe

In addition, I finally got a good picture of the "crack" in the shutoff valve, and it almost looks like there used to be a screw or bolt there... leak in valve

  • 1
    Does that gal. pipe going off to the right go under a slab and how fr does it go? It all looks bad. That looks like copper to the left of the valve.
    – JACK
    Apr 10, 2020 at 23:28
  • The piping to the right of the valve goes under the concrete porch and into the crawlspace of the house. I'm not 100% on the type of piping. How would I differentiate between the galvanized and copper?
    – AOTA
    Apr 10, 2020 at 23:58
  • 1
    The copper will be smooth and not corroded. Rub it with some sand or emery paper and you'll see the copper color... Are you planning on replacing the pipe to the crawlspace? From here, it looks pretty bad. It looks like the pipe to a union, to a nipple, to the valve.
    – JACK
    Apr 11, 2020 at 0:54
  • Where does that spigot go?
    – JACK
    Apr 11, 2020 at 1:04
  • 1
    I would replace the gate valve with a ball valve. They last longer. Apr 11, 2020 at 16:01

3 Answers 3


I recommend that you first get to work with a spade or shovel and remove a lot of the soil in that area so you have room to work and better access to more of the piping that is shown.

THEN, shut off the water at the street meter and find a suitable place to cut out the old pipe and valve and replace with new material.

Then put a valve box around the repair instead of putting the soil back in the hole.


Are you calling the round drilled hole in the bronze valve bonnet ( top of body) a "crack"? The hole looks like it had a steel screw that has corroded away ( corrosion shown by the corroded steel handle), or maybe there was a brass screw that has some how come out. The hole looks like it is a bleed but the purpose is not obvious because the pressure seal is the stem packing above the hole. An industrial valve could have a port there to inject sealant into the stem packing ,that would be unusual for a consumer valve.One should be able to unthread the bonnet and determine the problem and not replace pipe,etc.

  • Correct. I wasn't sure where the water was coming from as the area it's in is difficult to get to. I only recently was able to get a good picture of it.
    – AOTA
    Apr 11, 2020 at 16:47

Water minerals

Copper is fine and hygienic for tubing, unless the water pH value is not sufficient resp. the mineral mixture is not suited for copper. Over the years, the water quality coming from the supplier could have been changed, e.g. using different wells, other mixing, filtering procedures etc. The supplier should be able to recommend suited materials - and if copper is still fine.

Unnoble to noble

An important rule for domestic water systems. Downstream of galvanized steel pipes copper pipes are fine, but never use steel downstream of copper. Fine corrosion and leaks may result.


Pipes have to be protected against mechanical stress. If metal pipes are running in concrete without protective sheets, the different thermic expansion coefficients can lead to permanent scratching on the pipe's surface resulting in leaks.

Stem package

The shown stem package has a big nut under the rusty handle. This nut must be checked/re-tightened every few years to ensure the package is still tight enough for sealing.

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