The shutoff valves under your bathroom sink are your last line of defense if the faucet starts leaking, and they have to be in working order at all times. Under normal circumstances, they rarely get used, so the plastic and rubber parts inside one of these valves can turn brittle, and at some point, it may start to leak. Before you replace a leaky valve, you can try a simple repair procedure. If it doesn't work, you'll have to go ahead and replace the valve, but if it does work, you've saved yourself a little time and money.
Spray the handle with spray lubricant if you can't turn it. Wait about five minutes, then try turning it again. Repeat if necessary.
Stop a valve from leaking by tightening the packing nut. Wrap a rag around the nut, which is just under valve handle, grip it with adjustable pliers and turn it clockwise one-eighth turn. This may compress the rubber and plastic parts inside enough to stop the leak. If not, disassemble the valve.
Shut off the water to the sink. If you're fixing a hot water valve, turn off the hot water outlet on the water heater. If it's a cold valve, find the main water shutoff for the house, usually located next to the water meter.
Unscrew the handle with a Phillips screwdriver and loosen the packing nut by turning it counterclockwise. Remove the nut and pull out the valve stem.
Clean the washers with a dry rag, and bend them back and forth to make them supple. If a washer is cracked or too stiff to use, replace it with a new one.
Coat the rubber parts with a thin coating of plumbers' grease and reassemble the valve. Tighten the packing nut, screw on the handle and turn the water back on.
If the valve still leaks, it's time to replace it. You usually can do that by unscrewing the compression nut holding it to the pipe and pulling it off. Cut off the brass compression ring with a hacksaw before you install a new valve.
Replace the valve if it has developed any defects other than a leak, such as a broken handle or corroded faucet connection.
If you notice a leaking valve, replace it as soon as possible. It doesn't take long for water to damage the framing, the floor and the sink cabinet.
Everything You Need. One Complete Kit.
Want a quick and easy way to update the look of your shower or bathtub without replacing the faucet?
Try a trim kit from BrassCraft Manufacturing’s Service Parts program.
BrassCraft faucet rebuild kits include all the necessary parts to rebuild the most popular kitchen and bathroom faucets. Perfect for a contractor, maintenance repair professional or the do-it-yourselfer.
See our Service Parts Catalog for a complete line of Faucet Rebuild Kits and Trim Kits.
Ask your favorite retailer for BrassCraft faucet repair parts.
BrassCraft BCSR01 Multi Turn Valve Stem Repair Kit I cleaned up the valves, installed the parts from the kit on 2 of these valves that I previously replaced with .
Mark, absolutely! Glad to hear it! I know you sleep much better at night that way. Me too!
Jon, yes, exactly, a ball valve. Many thanks!
And Ed, nice point, thank you!
Let me try to explain this point Ed made just to make sure no one gets confused.
First and foremost, we're advocating the quarter-turn valve over the multi-turn valve. That is the key takeaway here. If you remember nothing else about this post, just remember that point! :)
Then, to get a little deeper into the kung-fu of shutoff valves:
There is usually half inch copper tubing coming out of the wall under the sink or near the toilet which carries the water into the room for the sink or toilet. The shut-off valve attaches to this copper tubing.
Now as Ed pointed out, he prefers to have the shut-off valve attach to the tubing by screwing the valve onto the tubing. This would occur if the tubing was threaded at the end to allow for the shutoff valve to be screwed on to the tubing. Valves designed for this have what's called a 1/2 inch FIP Inlet on them.
Here's a photo of one:
The other way of attaching the valve to the tubing (if the end of the tubing is not threaded but is instead smooth) is via a type of valve inlet called a 1/2 inch NOM Comp Inlet. (NOM Comp stands for Nominal Compression, but this isn't important.) That type of attachment uses the compression method of securing the valve to the smooth copper tube. As Ed points out, it can be easy to screw this up. Please note that this compression method of attaching the valve to the tubing has nothing to do with what type of valve we're using. We're still using the quarter-turn valve.
So if the copper tubing coming out of the wall is smooth and not threaded, Ed prefers to have a threaded male adapter sweated onto the smooth copper tubing, is that correct Ed?
In such a case, then the smooth copper tubing is in essence converted at the end to a male thread via an adapter, and a valve with a 1/2 inch FIP inlet can then screwed on to the adapter. You'd just want to put some teflon thread tape on there and then screw it on.
However, in this scenario someone has to sweat the adapter onto the smooth copper tubing. For folks who don't know what that means, it involves a blowtorch. This then, in my book, involves a professional.
I agree with Ed that it can be very easy to screw up attaching a shutoff valve to smooth copper tubing via a 1/2 inch NOM Comp inlet on the valve. But sweating on a threaded male adapter in my book means calling a professional. If you have a handyman that can sweat on the adapter at a reasonable cost, then I say go for it.
For me, if the copper tubing is smooth, I just use the 1/4 turn shutoff valves with the 1/2 inch NOM Comp inlet. I put these on myself so you can be darn sure I make certain those puppies are on there securely. I also use a little pipe dope in there as well before I crank it on which just helps me sleep better afterwards.
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