Is Flaring Enough?

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rchesterton
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Is Flaring Enough?

Post by rchesterton » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:42 pm

I need to replace this leaking meter valve from my main (coming into the house). (see pic). The handle broke off and it now drips constantly (about a 5gal bucket a day). I have the H20 scheduled to be shut off on Monday morning first thing so I can do the repair.

I am able to do basic plumbing (sweating joints, etc.) but this is a new endeavor for me. Plus, I get one shot. Once they turn the water back on I am either happy or screwed.

So, I picked up the valve and realize that if it does not fit into the existing nut I may have to flare a new one on. My question is about flaring. Is that enough to create a water-tight seal for the new nut-piece onto the copper pipe from the wall? Is there any soldering involved or sealing of any type, or just the flaring?
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Aaron
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by Aaron » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:40 pm

I'm an avid DIY'er, but for work on the utility side of the meter, I'd seriously have a professional plumber deal with it. That valve is your last resort, and you want it to work perfectly lest you have a pipe burst or some emergency.

Your city's water utility may allow you access to your curb stop valve. That allows you to shut the water using a long "key". If they do, then it will be easier to coodinate the replacement of your meter shutoff valve on the utility side. But I'd still leave that responsibility up to a hired plumber.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by A. Spruce » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:14 pm

I agree, I wouldn't mess with something as critical as this, leave it to the pros who know what they're doing and can get it done properly, regardless of what wrenches are thrown into the works, especially if you've only got one shot with your utility provider.
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Shannon
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by Shannon » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:23 pm

Yes I agree with Aaron and Spruce here. Sometimes there are jobs to DIY and sometimes it pays to have a professional come in,this is one of those times. I would also recommend they install a ball valve, that will give you a lifetime of worry free use.
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rchesterton
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by rchesterton » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:55 am

That definitely captures my attention...thanks guys. I will likely then hire it out. It's the $100 upfront cost of having a plumber come out that I hate...but I would hate even more a basement full of water. I expect this part to screw into the old nut (collar) that is on there already (no flaring required). In that case, it would probably be very easy - but if I get to the point that simply screwing it in cannot happen - I'd be in trouble.

I will take your advice.

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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by rchesterton » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:17 am

I have the part already...it is this (pictured). If I set up an appointment with a plumber tomorrow would you have the plumber use this part? Shannon, you mentioned a ball valve. I'm not sure what type of valve this is that I have already - I paid only $35 for it so it would be great to keep it and use it. Otherwise, I can ask the plumber to just use a ball valve and return this part - it'll just cost me more likely.
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Shannon
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by Shannon » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:55 am

Something like this ball valve is better http://www.cimberiovalve.com/downloads/ ... cim204.pdf
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The valve you have chosen will work but because a water meter valve is not used often they tend to kind of seize up over time and then when you need to close them you can't or they do not seal completely. A ball valve works much better in most any situation especially when sitting for longer periods of time not being cycled. Here is a good article I found talking about a few different types of valves.https://www.archtoolbox.com/materials-s ... types.html
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A. Spruce
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:59 am

Yep, a ball valve is the way to go if you can. Gate valves (your picture ) have problems because the rubber seals on the stem and gate get a "memory" of where they've been for the last god knows how long, when you move them they start leaking because of this, and because any corrosion that has built up has been disturbed and is also now in between the sealing surfaces. With a ball valve, the ball is 100% protected when in the open position and when moved, the "knife action" keeps corrosion and debris from affecting the seal. The added benefit is that the primary moving parts never see moisture, unlike traditional screw valves.
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Aaron
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by Aaron » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:09 am

The valve he has is a plunger-style. Gate valves actually are pretty common on water meters, both before and after the meter head. But yeah to echo everyone else, a full-port 1/4-turn ball valve is what he should have for sure. Way better water valves in any application.

rchesterton
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by rchesterton » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:24 pm

So, I contacted the plumber today and he told me that he would not be able to put a ball valve in at this spot because he said that it needs to be an angle valve meant to connect the incoming pipe to the meter (exactly what I have now). He said he didn't know of any that are ball valves. My valve is pictured below. Do you know of any angle meter valves that are ball valves?

The kicker is that he wanted $350 to do this repair. When he told me that he would put his valve on (not a ball valve) or I could use my own but they would not cover it if it failed - I told him forget it. He said that it goes by a flat rate - not hourly. There are certainly other plumbers around but I am expecting them to all be around the same. Does this seem reasonable/logical to you? Seems pretty steep to me.

This does not look like a complex installation. You guys spooked me though (which I do appreciate)! Given that it'll be $350, would you still let the pros do it? I am really considering giving it a go but man I know how bad it would be if my work failed when that water gets turned on, too.

I cancelled the water shut off for now because I am really thinking this through. How bad could flaring that fitting be? And...if no flaring is necessary (the valve fits into the old fitting) - would that change anyone's advice?

I know what I am asking here is really opinion - but this is a tough one. I could buy a really nice new tool or two for that kind of money!
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A. Spruce
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:10 pm

$350 sounds a little high, but not terribly. The flip side is, buying a flaring tool that you will only use once. An extremely quick google shows prices ranging anywhere from $50 to $150, not all that expensive. Then you have to figure out how to remove the old valve and flare and get the new one installed. Best case scenario is that you've got plenty of room to work, plenty of extra pipe to cut off and work with, and that what you cut off doesn't affect alignment of the new without having to extend or modify the pipe in some manner.

That's best case scenario. Worst case scenario is that this thing fights you from start to finish, with residual headaches down the road due to leaks from a poorly formed flare, mangled pipe, or some other unforeseen circumstance. The reality is that you're probably going to fall somewhere in between. Given enough time, you will eventually get it, but how long is that going to take? And, if there is an issue, what is your backup plan? Can you be without water for more than a day? Finally, to schedule a plumber to come do this thing for you now is only $350, call that same plumber after hours or in an emergency situation and you can bet the price will double or more.

Take money out of the equation and simply look at the pros/cons of the situation. Sure, it costs you a bit now, but there will be zero stress or worry about the work and you'll have a warranty should anything happen, and your water will be off for a very limited amount of time. Do it yourself and you've got stress, tools to buy, and a long list of unknowns that add to the stress of tackling this yourself.
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Shannon
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by Shannon » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:20 am

There are for sure right angle ball valves when I did a google search. If it is that big of deal that they can not get one in then use the valve they supply and make a point of opening and closing it a few times a year if you can. This will keep it functioning for many years. I would pay the Pro, peace of mind is worth something to me.
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Aaron
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by Aaron » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:42 pm

I just went down to the basement to look at my water meter and I have elbows and straight gate valves. I'm not sure what connection method exists between the flexible copper from the street and the elbow. It looks like some sort of compression fitting with a union nut. Could be a flare-type. Not sure.

I would think your plumber could just plumb in an elbow with a street fitting into a straight full-port ball valve? Then you can use readily-available straight valves instead of specialty right-angle valves. I'd go for high quality red brass fittings.
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A. Spruce
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by A. Spruce » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:53 pm

I wanted to comment on the plumber wanting to use his valve over the one you wish to provide. This is not an uncommon issue with most tradesman coming to your home. If we have to warrant our work and material, then we want to make sure that the materials are coming from a trusted source. We don't know where you bought the valve or the quality of said valve, regardless of the markings that may be on it. It is better for us to source our own products most of the time than allow the customer to provide them. The exception that I personally will make is for finish materials such as faucets, light fixtures, and things of this nature, where the operation of the fixture is inconsequential to the overall work being done.
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Aaron
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Re: Is Flaring Enough?

Post by Aaron » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:02 pm

Yeah often pros will stock or purchase parts from industrial catalogs or supply houses, so you're actually getting a product that is made to higher standards for institutional use. They don't want call-backs, so they want to use the highest quality they can find.

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