It is common that your plumber will attempt to utilize the curb valve with no luck. He may attempt to utilize the valve due to a leak on the property, a faulty valve or to winterize for the cold temperature. Most people do not test their curb valve and only become aware of the problem when they attempt to use the valve.
Testing the curb valve becomes a challenge. In theory it is a good idea to test the valve just in case of an emergency. The risk in testing is if the valve does not work. You may test the valve and it gets stuck in the closed position. In this case you would have no water and require a plumber to dig the street. For this reason we suggest testing with an immediate plan in case the valve gets stuck.
In the case where you valve does not close, the valve will continue to spin with no resistance. Any experienced license plumber should be able to tell if the valve is functional within minutes. If the valve is stuck in the open position it is obviously not as bad as the closed position, you must decide it it is worth the risk or if you want to replace the valve for future issues.
The first step when replacing the curb valve is to apply for all of the required city permits. When your plumber has both the DOT and DEP permits they can begin working on a schedule date.
The first step is opening a hole in the roadway over the city water main. Once the wet tap connection has been located, the valve must be closed to stop water from flowing in the pipe. The second hole must be made in the area of the curb valve. The curb valve is usually located within two feet of the curb line, below the sidewalk. Now the existing pipe is cut before the curb valve is removed. The water is off, curb valve removed and it is time to install the new valve! The installation process should be completed within one day.
There are scenarios where the water main is made up of lead or galvanized pipe. In NYC the plumbing code does not allow for repairs on lead or galvanized pipe. In this case, the entire water main must be replaced if you want a faulty curb valve replaced.
There are several other variables to consider when replacing a curb valve. We suggest to call your licensed plumber, discuss all details and obtain assistance on making the right decision.