How Do You Fix a Leaking Shut Off Valve? (Explained)

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If you’ve realized your residence’s water valve leak, it may indicate a plumbing issue. When you ignore such a minor problem, you may end up losing lots of water and rot may arise beneath the sink. Therefore, how do you fix a leaking shut off valve?

You can fix a leaking shutoff valve in three simple steps before you decide to replace it. First, you can use a wrench to tighten a packing nut. And if that doesn’t work, you can try replacing the packing material or the washer.

In this post, I’ll take you through how to fix and replace the water shut off valve. The reasons a valve leaks and the amount it costs to replace one. Keep reading to learn more!

Why Is My Water Shut Off Valve Leaking?

Your water valve might leak because of two reasons. It may be too outdated and there is a possibility of it being worn out or deteriorated. You may have introduced a new valve, and you didn’t tighten it as required.

However, you can decide to fix it by employing a few remedial procedures or even replace it. Though, everything depends on the actual cause of a leaky valve.

How Do You Fix a Leaking Shut Off Valve?

There are 3 ways you can fix a leaking shut off valve. And you can do that before you decide to get a new one. They are as follows;

Use a Wrench to Fasten the Packing Nut

Start by shutting off the water and then pull out the handle on the stem. Unfasten the packing nut and remove it. Remove the obsolete washer, slip in a different one and return the nut you had pulled out.

Consider not making it too tight. Reconnect the handle, turn on the water and open the valve to confirm if it still leaks. In case water is still coming out, you can try fastening the nut by making a quarter turn.

That is, until there are no leaks. If the valve is still new, then doing this will help. And if it can’t, then the packing washer may be broken and you will have to replace it.

Replacing the Packing Material

The nut normally attaches the material against a washer to prevent water from passing through. However, as time goes by, the material does cast a strong seal since it deteriorates. This results in the valve leaking.

And with this, you will need to replace the material by following these steps;

Turn off the Water

Ensure you turn it off from the meter box.

Drain the Lines

Drain all the water in the line by turning on the tap in your home.

Eliminate the Handle

Go ahead and discard the handle of the shutoff valve.

Discard the Old Nut

Extract the outdated packing nut and use a toothpick to remove it if it’s mainly made of Teflon. Still, if it’s a rubber gasket, you can exclude it.

Wrap a New Packing

Pick a new packing and roll it around the stem three times in a counterclockwise direction. Still, you can change the rubber washer.

Fasten the Packing Nut

Tighten the nut back using a screw. Ensure you don’t make it too tight.

Confirm If the Valve Still Leaks

Open the water supply and then confirm if the valve is still leaking.

Replace the Washer

Check out these 4 simple steps on how you can replace a washer;

  1. Discard the handle of the shutoff valve.
  2. Use a wrench to remove the nut.
  3. Take out the old washer and then install a different one. Ensure it matches the size of the one you removed.
  4. Turn on the water to test if the valve still leaks.

How to Replace the Main Water Shut Off Valve?

You can easily replace your main water valve by following some simple steps. Though it also depends on the type of valve present. The two popular ones are compression and solder valves. And you can replace them as follows;

Replacing a Solder Valve

You can replace this kind of valve by following these simple steps;

Gather and Arrange Your Tools

Do this to make the whole procedure as easy as possible. Ensure you assemble the crucial supplies and tools you will be using. Arrange them where you can be able to access them without straining.

Shut Off the Water

You can turn off the water yourself if you have the experience and authorization to operate a curb key. Alternatively, you can talk to the officers in the public works to help you. Get in and then turn the faucet on to confirm if water is still coming out.

At first, water will flow as usual and then slow down till it fully ceases. This implies the curb valve functions and is completely deactivated. However, if water does not stop, the valve may be destroyed or it’s not fully shut.

Here, consider communicating to the authorities from the public works to have the curb valve fixed up before you proceed.

Drain the Whole Water Line

If your sink is near the main water valve, ensure you open the tap to empty the waterline. Notably, the water needs to first discharge at a usual speed and then slow down before it stops completely. However, it doesn’t mean you’ve drained all the water.

Some houses have isolation valves situated at a distance from the main shut-off valve. When you deactivate it, you don’t have to drain the whole water line. Still, some water will ooze from the tube when you remove the old valve.

Discard the Old Valve

First confirm that a towel, bucket, and drop cloth are all set. Cut the pipe on an outlet section of the valve using a pipe cutter. Some water will be released into the bucket, though it will stop after some time.

This is a sign of the water line being fully drained. Then go on to the inlet area and repeat the procedure you used for the outlet. Though there will be very little or no water flowing from the tube while you cut it.

You can also apply steady heat using a blowtorch to sweat off the valve. This enables you to melt down the outdated solder joints. Thus, allowing you to remove the valve using the channel locks.

You can use this technique if you have some experience soldering.

Tidy up the Fittings and the Pipe

Clean the pipe to get rid of debris or dust using a towel. Then rub off the upper coating of the oxidized metal using a grit cloth. This will uncover a copper pipe.

Use a flux paste to prepare the external pipe for soldering. You can clean the new valve’s inner part using a wire brush. Also, apply the same paste as it can peel off the impurities.

Those between the layers and pull the solder as it is heated.

Glue the Inner Part of the Valve

You can slip the valve above the copper duct. Ensure the tiny cap next to the ball valve is set toward the side of the house. Then position the soldering layer at the back of the pipe.

This will obstruct the blaze from a blowtorch. Thus, safeguarding the wall and the nearby items from getting damaged by the fire. Proceed to connect a MAPP gas on the blow torch and avoid standard propane as it isn’t sufficiently hot.

Moreover, it cannot solder the plumbing properly.

Unwrap Part of the Solder

After unfolding the solder, you can gradually apply heat to the inlet area of the valve. Go on to apply solder on the valve’s joint. This will melt and flow in the opening between the valve and the pipe, hence creating a metal seal.

Consider moving the solder on the joint to make sure there aren’t openings on the seal. Proceed to deactivate the blow torch and then leave the tube to cool down. After you’re done soldering, leave a damp towel on the pipe for a few seconds.

This will help cool the tube without altering the solder joint.

Test for Any Leakages

After cooling the pipe and valve, you can reach out to a professional or public works officials to turn on the water. Ensure your new valve is opened. Water will slowly recharge the pipe and start drizzling in the bucket.

Close the valve and then use a paper towel to clean it to check whether there are leaks. Doing this will allow you to detect a tiny water drop. Therefore, it’s important to check for leaks on the valve.

And if everything is ok, you can leave the curb valve completely open. If it’s leaking you’ll have to turn off the water and redo the process.

Solder the Outlet Side of the Valve

Just like you did to the inlet, you can repeat the same steps to solder the valve’s outlet. This will still ensure all the items around the wall are well protected using the soldering sheet. Don’t forget to add heat to the joint for the flux paste to pull the liquid solder and make a perfect seal.

Also, avoid excessive heat as it can burn down the paste and even prevent you from achieving your goal.

Test the Valve for Leaks

You can wait for the water valve to cool and then examine the new joint by unlocking the main shut-off valve. Water will get into the system and then emit from a closer tap. Let the water go on flowing till you examine the joint for any leaks.

In case you detect a leak, you will have to shut the water off and drain the lines again. Then proceed to redo joint soldering. In case you utilize an isolation valve, there will be too little water to drain if there is a leakage.

Allow Water to Flow In the Lines

After installing a new valve, you can fill the system by opening the taps that are closer and turning the water on. Water will start spilling out of the spigot and even propel air from the system. And when it stops getting out from all the fixtures it means your water line is entirely recharged.

Also, remove debris from the internal parts of the pipe. This will prevent clogging up of the spigot’s aerators. You can do this before doing a refill.

Replacing the Compression Valve

You can replace compression valves as follows;

Turn the Nut In An Anti-clockwise Direction to Unfasten It

Confirm if the water supply is deactivated before you pull out the valve. Attach a wrench to the nut which holds the valve in position. You can rotate it in the opposite direction to unfasten it from the body of the valve.

A compression nut normally fits around the tubes. Slip it below the pipe shaft and then omit the valve.

Take out the compression sleeve and the obsolete valve

You can exclude the old valve from the pipe. Then look for a compression sleeve that does fit at the tube. You can rotate it using a plier and pull it from the tube.

Go on to slip off the nut. Ensure you do not apply excessive force. If you slant the pipe, the new valve won’t go through.

Slip the Sleeve and the New Compression Nut on the Supply Pipe

For the threaded side of the nut to receive the valve, ensure it faces out. You can slide it towards the pipe to get space to operate on. Set the new sleeve above the edge of the pipe.

Ensure it also fits well. It will establish a tight seal between the pipe and valve. The sleeve will be snug if you acquired a valve that conforms with the diameter of the pipe.

Cord the Valve Into the Nut

You can position the valve at the edge of the pipe. Then pull the nut down the shaft of the pipe towards the threaded part of the valve’s trunk. You can then rotate the compression nut in a clockwise direction using your hands.

Finalize the process using a pipe wrench. In case the valve is a two-way one, consider fastening the nuts on either side.

Reattach Supply Lines, If Necessary

In case the valve normally provides water for all the fixtures in your house including the toilet, you can restore the supply lines. Those move from the valve and go towards the fixtures. Use your hands to commence the tightening and then complete it with a pipe wrench.

And as the rule goes by, ensure you don’t do it too tight that you can not unfasten it in any case you need to fix an issue.

Open the Water Supply and Inspect for Leaks

Ensure the faucets are off before you activate your residence water supply. Check if the new valve is leaking and if it’s the case you can go ahead and fasten the nut.

What Are the Factors Influencing Shut Off Valve Replacement?

The Type of Shut Off Valve

Valves are always available in different types. And it’s upon you to decide on the one you want. However, it’s always advisable that you get a ball-type since it has a perfect quality.

Moreover, the kind of valve you opt for will always affect the amount of money you will spend. Consider learning how different types work before you decide to choose one. Like the automatic ones, a solder, and a compression valve.

Workload Severity

You’ll also have to consider the condition of the valve and the items around the affected place. Moreover, if there are other issues caused by the damaged valve you may have to replace it. For instance, the water may result in the growth of algae which causes allergic reactions.

The Cost of Labor

In case you cannot do the replacement yourself, you will need to find a professional to assist you. A plumber can understand the issues and will give you a great solution. With that said, you’ll need to spend extra cash as opposed to if you did it yourself.

The cost will also depend on your location and the workload.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Shut Off Valve?

It costs over 100 dollars to replace a shut-off valve. However, this will fluctuate depending on whether you decide to do everything yourself or you hire a professional and depending on the area you live. The type of valve also matters, if it’s a smart one, it’ll cost more based on the features that you want.

You may decide to have one which is automatic and can detect leakage. With that, you can be able to avoid costly destruction in the event of a leak. You’ll also get discounts on yearly insurance premiums.

Nevertheless, whether the shut-off valve is an automated device or not, it enables you to prevent substantial damage to your residence. Mostly when there is a leak. Remember, the main shut off valve always controls water flow in your entire home, and it is vital to ensure it functions well. And thus, even if you detect an issue, you can shut off the water as you wait for a professional to help you fix it.


While a majority of people may fear trying to fix or replace a water valve, you can easily do it by yourself. All you need to have is the right equipment, plus some fundamental information regarding plumbing. And thus, you’ll be able to reduce the cost incurred while hiring a professional.