Every article we provide to homeowners looking to do a fix at home on their plumbing fixtures includes a recommendation to first turn off the shutoff valve to either your home or the fixture being worked on. The purpose of the shut-off valve is to cut the water off from the home so that, during a repair or replacement, the room you are working on does not become flooded causing major water damage.
What should one do, however, if the shutoff valve does not work or is damaged itself? Read below for tips on how to work with a compromised shut-off valve.
A common brass shutoff valve, called a stop, is prone to oxidation. There is a waste that opens and lets the water out of the valve for the purpose of preparing the stop for freezing weather. When the water is let out of the waste, it rests on the outside of the valve. When the water and air meet on the surface of the valve, it begins to oxidize. That results in the corroded looking blueish green color on the surface of the stop. Some might think that using a wire brush to clean off the oxidation and repacking the unit would fix the problem, however, it is most often best to replace the stop valve entirely.
First, you will want to take an emery cloth and remove the oxidized surface as close to the valve as possible. This will make cutting closer to the pipe easier. A mini hacksaw is the tool of choice for the best results when cutting pipes at custom measurements. There is an arrow on the service valve that tells you which way the water should flow, so be aware of that orientation when installing the new valve. If installed incorrectly, it will not allow the water to travel from the water meter to the fixture as intended.
Place the valve between the two newly cut pipes and insert the pipes in the opening on either side. Using a crescent wrench, tighten each bolt in the direction they require, both clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively. You want to tighten them so much so that you might feel like you will split the pipe, but it is harder to damage the pipe in this way than you might think. The tighter you pull the bolt the better seal the feral inside the valve will be able to make on the pipes.
There you have it. You have successfully replaced your shut-off valve, one of the most important pieces of plumbing when it comes to preventing major water damage from plumbing emergencies such as leaks or broken pipes. If you would feel better asking a professional to complete the job, or have a separate plumbing issue that is a concern, give Jack Ward & Sons a call at (615) 227-2811 today.