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Starting Member


Monday, October 26th 2015, 7:38pm

Main water shut-off valve has hole in the side

Hello there!

So its about that time of the year when everyone blows out their irrigation systems and with those intentions for my self I remembered that last year when I paid someone to come out and do it they told my wife ( I was away for work) that a lot of air was coming up from the main shut-off valve. So sure enough when i tried to blow them out today I noticed my valve making a lot of noise.

The valve is about 2.5-3 feet down underground (normally accessible by some PVC pipe run straight over it) and is the only valve between the house water and the double check valve assembly. So after digging it up I noticed a little hole on the side of it and sure enough whenever i pressurize it that's where the air is leaking.

To add a little back story I bought this house about 2 years ago In November about a week before a big freeze came in with temperatures reaching -20 degrees and whoever owned the house beforehand never winterized the system so after a weekend trip to Seattle I came back to find my crawlspace 17" deep with water cause the double check valve had cracked out underneath.

So here I am 2 years later trying to learn from past mistakes. Is this merely a drain hole in the shutoff valve to prevent water damage during winter? Or is it some kind of safety feature warning me that the valve is going bad? I live in eastern Washington state and the irrigation guys last year, while they didn't dig it up, didn't know why there was air coming out of this valve. Many thanks for any help!


Active Member

Posts: 36

Location: Knoxville, TN


Monday, October 26th 2015, 9:09pm

Thanks for the detailed explanation and picture. That helps alot!

Looks like a stop and waste valve:

I'm not a plumber by any means (I'm in IT), so here is the definition of a stop and waste valve:

A type of plug valve that when in a closed position drains the piping above or beyond it. When the valve is turned a quarter turn to shut it off, a small port or hole in the valve body is uncovered. Permitting water above the valve to drain out, preventing a freeze up in cold weather. Stop-and-waste valves are used mainly on small-diameter water piping.

Here is a video of one as well:

Stop and Waste Valve

and how to replace if needed:

Replace Stop and Waste Valve

I hope I answered some of your questions! Did you take care of the double check valve in your basement!


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,287

Location: Metro NYC


Tuesday, October 27th 2015, 6:10am

the Stop and Waste valve is old school - commonsense drainage feature, that is no longer employed, because of contamination concerns

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