A leaky water main valve is a potentially serious problem. If the valve starts spewing a lot of water, you may not be able to shut the water off. Not being able to shut the water off yourself makes DIY repairs impossible too. If the leak is more than just a drip, you may need an emergency plumbing service. Here's why a leaky water main valve is difficult to work with and what a plumber may do.
You City May Not Allow You To Shut Off The Meter
When you have a water leak in your house, you know to turn off the nearest shut-off valve to stop the water. When the water main valve is leaking and won't turn off, there is no other shut-off valve to turn to besides your water meter.
Your city may prohibit you from turning this meter, and it might be risky to do so because if you cause damage to the meter, you may have to pay to repair it. The best option if you can't turn off the water at the leaky valve is to call an emergency plumber rather than bother the meter.
Stop The Water With An Emergency Plumbing Service
Since water mains are so hard to shut off, it's good to have plumbing repairs done when the leak is just a small drip. If the leak grows and starts spewing water, you could drive up your water bill. Even if you're able to turn off your water at the leaky valve, you'll also shut off the water supply to your entire house, and that is an emergency situation in itself.
A bad water main valve shouldn't be ignored since the situation might get worse, so emergency repairs might be needed. The plumber may try to repair the valve by tightening a nut or replacing the washer or stem valve. However, if your valve is an old gate valve that has a circular handle, you may want the plumber to replace it with a ball valve that has a lever handle. These have a lower risk of leaking.
Another thing to consider is if you want the height of the valve raised or lowered. If you want changes done, doing them while the plumber is working on the leak could save money. You might want the valve raised so you can connect a hose easier or get the valve out of the way of foundation plants.
Once you've had the repair work done, you shouldn't have to worry about a leaky valve again for a long time, especially if the plumber put in an entirely new valve. You probably don't turn the valve on and off very often, so the water main valve doesn't wear usually wear out as fast as other plumbing parts.