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How do we replace the shutoff for a water main in our basement?
The pipes are metal and are probably 100 years old. When we turn the water all the way on it just pours onto the floor, when half off it just drips.
The water supply WILL HAVE TO BE TURNED OFF AT THE SOURCE before you attempt to change the valve.
If the water supply is on city service, there's a water main valve outside at the property line of your property; the city has to come down with a special metal rod to turn off the water, then come back when the rapair is done to re-open the valve.
If you have well water, you'll have to turn off the power to the well pump before you make the repair.
Use a large brass ball valve or brass gate valve, designed for water mains (plumbing supply house) as a replacement.
You'll have an enormous flood at your house if you don't follow these guidelines.
I would also say that this is NOT a job for a do-it-yourself'r! Pipes that old and corroded are very fragile and anything you do can easily damage them. Better to let an experience plumber assess the problem as well as they will have the right tools and experience to complete the job as quickly as possible.
If you have a water meter in the basement that is located after the shut off, call your local water supplier it may be their property and responsibility.