Sometimes a leaky shutoff valve (on the water supply pipe to the toilet, sink, or other plumbing fixture) is simply turned too far open, meaning too far counterclockwise or to the left. Often, a slight turn in the opposite direction will stop the leak.
Replacing a shutoff valve, if it comes to that, is a fairly simple procedure. The pain comes from having to turn off the water supply for the whole house and draining the water out of the pipes up to the location of the shutoff valve.
1. Turn Off The Water Supply
After turning the valve to the full “off” position (all the way to the right), detach and drain the pipes using a wrench or pliers. Use a small plastic tub or pan to catch any water that might otherwise spill onto your floor.
2. Untwist The Nut
Dis-assemble the valve, remove the screw from the handle and untwist the packing nut. Remove the threaded valve system. In the process, remember the position of the neoprene washers so that you can easily put them back together later.
3. Clean The Washers
Clean the washers with a rag to remove any mineral deposits. Keep cleaning until their flexibility returns.
4. Assemble The Valve
Re-assemble the shut-off valve. Make sure the washers are positioned properly. Once again, tighten the packing nut 1/8 to ¼ turn at a time with your wrench or pliers. Do not use plumber’s putty or you might have a hard time fixing the shut-off valve in the future. Make sure you don’t over tighten the nuts as that could damage the valve.
5. Turn The Water Supply Back On
Turn on the water from the main water supply. Watch out for leaks as the line is being filled. If you see that the valves are still leaking, then your shut-off valve needs to be replaced.
Not the handy type or just don’t have the time to handle plumbing problems yourself? At Gipps Plumbing, we’re always ready to lend a hand with same-day service. Give us a call for all the plumbing help you’ll ever need.