Water shut-off valves tend to accumulate mineral residue and freeze. Of course, you won’t find out until you need to shut off the valve to make a repair on a pipe line, sink or showertub. Not knowing how to free stuck plumbing valves, though, can lead to broken valves, pipes and fixtures, leading to more expensive repairs.
Following a few steps, however, you may be able to get the stuck valve back in working order and finish your plumbing repair job.
Turn off the water supplying the valve you’re working on. This may require you to turn off the entire home’s supply.
Drip penetrating oil down the shaft of the valve and allow it to soak in. Tap the body lightly with a hammer to aid in the oil’s distribution around the valve. Turn the valve with your hand after several taps. If the valve begins to loosen, add more oil, tap the body and continuing turning the valve until it fully opens.
Heat up the valve body with a hair dryer. Sometimes grime or gunk will solidify around the valve and act like an adhesive. Heating the valve body up will melt the gunk enough so that you can begin turning the valve. Once the valve turns, turn it back and forth to wash away the gunk that was inhibiting the valve from rotating.
Loosen the packing nut, or bonnet nut, with an adjustable wrench. This nut is directly beneath the handle, and the valve stem runs directly through it. Once the nut has been loosened, begin to turn the valve back and forth to free it up. Add penetrating oil if the valve still does not move.
Things You Will Need
- Penetrating oil
- Adjustable wrench
- Small hammer
- Hair dryer
- Turn the water on and check for leaking around the valve once it is freed up. Many times the packing nut will leak after the valve has been freed. Attach an adjustable wrench to the nut and give it a quarter turn. This will reseat the packing material and make a waterproof seal once again.
Don’t fancy doing this project yourself? We can work with it.
If you are in any doubt about this operation or tips above you can always call Royal Plumbing at (361) 991-1002 to schedule a service, it may be that the shutoff valve has simply come to the end of its useful life and extending this could damage the rest of the plumbing system so you will need to get it checked out just to be certain.
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