Forum Thread

SOLVED: most likely location for spigot's shut-off valve?

Damocles 3,471 October 20, 2012 at 06:23 PM
i have an exterior spigot through which no water passes. i think there was a shutoff valve turned off before the basement was finished. i want to open the valve. i live in MN, but i have never shutoff any of my other spigots during winter, so it seems unnecessary (our house is well-heated).

there is a 10' run from the spigot into the center of the house, and then it turns 90 degrees and there is another 10' run to the main water line in. unfortunately i cannot see these pipes because they are above the basement's drywall ceiling.

is there a logical place to guess where the shutoff may be? i want to punch a hole in the ceiling to access the valve, but i would love to start in a logical place.

any plumbers out there in slickdeals? is there a rule of thumb, like "within 2 ft of the exterior wall?" from what i can see from the laundry room, there is no shut off within 6 ft of the main, probably because the bathroom lines come off the pipe about 2' in from the main. there are no other branches from the line.

any other tips? i could not get a snake through the spigot and around a couple tortuous bends at the exterior wall, but i do have access to the wall right now from the inside because i ripped down the drywall for other reasons. still no visibility of the 10' of ceiling pipe adjacent to the spigot.

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#2
mine are located where they come into the house. BTW, I live in MA which tends to be slightly warmer than Minn. and I always turn mine off for the winter. I even have these funny little covers for the outside faucets to keep them from freezing.
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#3
Quote from SueM View Post :
mine are located where they come into the house. BTW, I live in MA which tends to be slightly warmer than Minn. and I always turn mine off for the winter. I even have these funny little covers for the outside faucets to keep them from freezing.
thanks for the input. what's interesting is that two spigots were drywalled "on" and only one is "off."
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#4
Figure out if the ceiling was dropped below the level of the joists at all. Sometimes, 2x4's will be mounted to the bottom of the joists to drop the ceiling enough to accommodate pipes. The valve might not be in the basement it could behind an access panel, closet, or cabinet on another level. Are there any bulkheads or access panels (they could be well hidden)? Look for any extra unidentified valves near every other location you have plumbing. Look in furnace and utility rooms.

You can't see the pipe yet seem pretty certain of it's path, how so? Do you know if any insulation was used in the basement ceiling? If you know which way the joists run and have a decent idea where the pipe is, you should be able to inspect an entire joist bay from one hole.

I don't think there's a ton of standardization, it really depends on who installed it homeowner / builder and whether or not a plumber was involved. There could be a code req but I have no idea. It's important to realize that there are different types of hose spigots, some are freeze resistant and the point where water is shut off is 6-10 inches inside your house like this [homedepot.com] on others water would be right up against the exterior of your house and must be winterized. If they were installed with a shut off, I would always use it (in some cases there is no shut off valve)! I think the freeze resistant spigots became more popular in the 1970/80's but they may have been around before that. When was your house built?

It's also possible that this spigot doesn't have a shut off valve and that the spigot is just broken.
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Last edited by jkee October 20, 2012 at 09:22 PM
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#5
what about trying a metal detector. it will beep/tone louder the more metal that is in one area? i.e. dense metal spigots.

the lines might be PVC, bt the spigot will be metal for sure.

also, i bet coding would fine the builder who dry walled over the spigots.
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#6
Quote from jkee View Post :
Figure out if the ceiling was dropped below the level of the joists at all. Sometimes, 2x4's will be mounted to the bottom of the joists to drop the ceiling enough to accommodate pipes. The valve might not be in the basement it could behind an access panel, closet, or cabinet on another level. Are there any bulkheads or access panels (they could be well hidden)? Look for any extra unidentified valves near every other location you have plumbing. Look in furnace and utility rooms.

You can't see the pipe yet seem pretty certain of it's path, how so? Do you know if any insulation was used in the basement ceiling? If you know which way the joists run and have a decent idea where the pipe is, you should be able to inspect an entire joist bay from one hole.

I don't think there's a ton of standardization, it really depends on who installed it homeowner / builder and whether or not a plumber was involved. There could be a code req but I have no idea. It's important to realize that there are different types of hose spigots, some are freeze resistant and the point where water is shut off is 6-10 inches inside your house like this [homedepot.com] on others water would be right up against the exterior of your house and must be winterized. If they were installed with a shut off, I would always use it (in some cases there is no shut off valve)! I think the freeze resistant spigots became more popular in the 1980's but they may have been around before that. When was your house built?

It's also possible that this spigot doesn't have a shut off valve and that the spigot is just broken.
you nailed it. i retraced the exact locations of the pipe (i could see the start of each section of the L, but not the junction), and it turned out the pipes were a few feet to the side of where i thought they were in a nearby bedroom. and it turns out that new path was right over a small closet in that bedroom. and it turns out that small closet has a cheap painted plywood ceiling. and it turns out with a crowbar, i could pop that ceiling up (by design). and behind the plywood was a shutoff valve. problem solved!

i wasn't confident there would be a convenient solution, because i could see the shutoff valves for the other two spigots, and they are definitely above drywall, 6' from the nearest access, just beyond my reach. so i'm glad someone thought this one out.

so it turns out that the valve is about 20' in from the exterior, around three 90 bends. punching holes starting from the exterior wall would have taken a while and led to lots of destruction :-)

the only thing i don't like about this pipe layout is that the spigot comes off my soft water line, which seems like a waste of salt.
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Last edited by Damocles October 20, 2012 at 09:31 PM
#7
You might want to consider installing an access panel for the other valves.
Like one of these:
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5...reId=10051
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5...reId=10051 wrong image, smaller sizes elsewhere

or one of these and an electrical cover: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5...reId=10051 (might be too small to be useful if you have a ball valves)
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#8
Quote from Damocles View Post :
the only thing i don't like about this pipe layout is that the spigot comes off my soft water line, which seems like a waste of salt.
Some houses are setup with ONE soft water spigot on purpose. It's far better than hard water for things like car washing and window washing as it greatly reduces water spots. Smilie
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#9
Quote from Damocles View Post :
the only thing i don't like about this pipe layout is that the spigot comes off my soft water line, which seems like a waste of salt.
That's probably why the previous owner turned it off.
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