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Shutoff valves

I am about to replace a bathroom sink and faucet. I went to turn the shutoff valves to the off position and they began to leak water in the vanity. Is this normal, and will it stop after a bit, and can I proceed. I'm concerned that the water will keep running and I'll have a mess before I can finish the job.

A. Spruce
Re: Shutoff valves

It sounds as though the angle stops are not completely closing, which is quite common. In cases like these, it is necessary to turn off the water main to the house. At this point it is in your best interests to replace the old angle stop with a new unit, preferably a ball valve that does not suffer the same problems of a standard "screw" valve.

I would recommend replacing the angle stops first, then proceed with your other repairs/replacements so that the water supply to the house isn't off for any longer than necessary. Plumbing issues can easily take far longer than initially anticipated, you don't want to open things up and not be able to complete the job. Get the sink isolated first, then continue with your repairs.:cool:

Re: Shutoff valves

Thank you for the reply. I was afraid of the answer but now it doesn't sound too bad. Always best to be prepared!

Re: Shutoff valves

Hey Warrenotc,

Yes, those nasty little valves like to leak whenever, after years of being left alone, they are turned off and/or back on. Depending on the severity of the leak you may get away with taking a small adjustable (Cresent) wrench and gently tightening the nut just behind the valve hande. This put back together what got loosened up and drawns down the top of the valve to the body. This many times will stop a small leak. If this doesn't work, shut off the main water supply to the house. Open a faucet where you're working for a second or two then close it. Remove the valves and replace with new ones. Any large home improvement store would carry these valves.
**As is prudent to say, there is no substitute for a licensed plumber.

Re: Shutoff valves

I saw on an episode of This Old House where Rich replaced soldered on shut off valves with a solderless type (not thread on). Has anyone tried these? How did they work?

Re: Shutoff valves

Those work quite well. They use a compression fitting to attach the valve and make a waterproof seal without soldering. The nice part is they can be used for 1/2" copper and cvpc.

I prefer the 1/4 turn valves instead of the football shaped ones. There are a number of advantages;

1- they are easier to turn, which is good in an emergency and for people with weak hands.
2- you can look at it to see if it is open or closed
3- they have no parts that will wear out, like the old style ones
4- they never get stuck open or closed like the old ones.

Re: Shutoff valves

Good answers.
The 1/4 turn ball angle stops are getting popular now, but I have had leaks with them too. No big deal, they are fairly inexpensive and easy to replace.
It will also make sense to check: 1. your main house valve, to make sure it stops the water flow at the point of entry to the house. 2. water meter shut off valve (if this one leaks, call your water supplier).


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