If you're like most homeowners, you probably don't pay much attention to your plumbing fixtures' water valves around the home. So if you suddenly find yourself trying to turn off the water to a toilet, water heater, or sink and it's been a few years since you've touched that particular valve, it may not budge.
This is especially common with older plumbing fixtures. Before you roll up your sleeves and put all of your muscle into turning the valve, note that brute force can actually damage the valve; it's better to practice patience when fixing this particular plumbing fixture. Before you start, it's a good idea to turn off the water at the main water shutoff valve to prevent a broken water pipe from causing water damage. In our most recent blog, the licensed plumbers at Estes Services discuss how to fix a stuck water shut-off valve.
Fixing a Stuck Water Shut Off Valve
There are a few ways to try and loosen a water shutoff valve that won't budge. If you've tried everything, though, and the valve is still stuck, it's best to contact a professional plumber to avoid damaging the stuck valve and potentially causing a serious leak.
We recommend putting a cloth over the handle and using your hand to slowly rock the stuck valve back and forth to loosen it. Keep doing this until the valve can be completely opened and closed.
If the valve won't turn after trying this, grab a pair of Channellock pliers. Using the pliers, give the valve a half turn in the clockwise direction and then use your hand to turn it back counterclockwise and repeat that process until the valve seat loosens and is able to turn with less effort.
If neither of these techniques fixes the stuck valve, consider using pliers to turn the packing nut, which is located closest to the valve's handle, a quarter-turn counterclockwise. Then work the valve back and forth until it loosens up. Don't forget to tighten the packing nut back up. It's important to note that when you turn the packing nut, some water may come out, so it's a good idea to have a bucket below to catch the water, if you didn't turn off the main water supply.
If the valve still won't budge, consider turning off the water supply to the plumbing fixture, loosen the packing nut using the pliers and slide it up the stem to the valve. Then spray some penetrating oil on the stem so it can seep down through the rubber washer or packing material, which will hopefully free up the corrosion inside the valve which is causing the stuck shut off valve. Wait a couple of hours, and then try to loosen the valve.
Maintenance for Water Valves
One of the best ways to avoid stuck water valves around your home is to perform a little DIY maintenance throughout the year. Opening and closing plumbing valves a couple of times a year will prevent minerals and rust from building up on the valve seat.
Contact Estes Services for Plumbing Services
Remember to practice patience and not brute force when dealing with a stuck shut off valve. If you've tried everything and the valve still won't loosen, contact the licensed plumbers at Estes Services. We can repair and replace water valves and keep your plumbing system in tip-top shape. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.