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Help a newbie - valve stuck

 
gardener
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I have a leaky faucet. I need to take it off to see if I can simply replace some gaskets, or if it needs an entirely new head.

Unfortunately I can't turn the hot water valve to shut it off. The cold water turns with no issue.

I'm trying to figure out a way to get more leverage to turn the valve, my own strength is insufficient. I'm a little scared of using a big lever and tearing the whole thing out too.

I've exactly zero diy plumbing experience.
IMG_20220911_113438127.jpg
Left valve is stuck
Left valve is stuck
 
master pollinator
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Shutoff valves can become very stiff, seemingly welded in place, especially if they haven't been turned since the day they were installed.

First thing: Is there a global shutoff valve for water pressure for your whole house? Do you have access? Does it work? The ability to shut off all water pressure makes DIY plumbing a bit less terrifying. And less floody.

Second thing: There is a whole lot of "spring" in the various pipes in your photo. They will soak up some of the rotational torque needed to unstick the shutoff valve. If you can grab hold of the valve body with one hand to reduce its tendcency to twist and then apply force to the valve operator (tap handle), you may have better luck. The same applies if you use tools -- support the valve body while you apply torque.

Third thing: Put on gloves! All these things have sharp, angular edges that keep you from applying the maximum force you are capable of.

Hope this helps. Luck!
 
L. Johnson
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There's a valve on the main's side of the house water meter. I'm assuming this is the global shut off valve.

Should be easy to test.
IMG_20220911_140316648.jpg
Meter and valve
Meter and valve
 
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Hi, Sometimes there is a shutoff valve coming out of the hot water heater.  If the valve under the sink is really stuck I would replace it with a quarter turn valve. The lines going to the sink and up from the floor can be disconnected with a couple of wrenches.  Put pipe tape on the screw ends and connect a new valve.  It is important to have them working in case of line breakage and major leaking.
 
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It's a little late for prevention, but an old plumber once told me the trick to shutoff valves. When you turn them on, back them off about a half turn from wide open. This gives you that wiggle room years later when you need it and doesn't really affect the flow.

Ball valves don't need this treatment, BTW...it's just gate valves and the common threaded ones that you tend to find on sink and toilet supply lines.
 
pollinator
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I think you may break the shaft of the valve anyway, they often bind up too much.
Perhaps have a spare one on hand to replace the whole unit if that happens, they do not cost much.
 
L. Johnson
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There's some sort of adhesive material or caulking on the connection between the valve and the pipe under it.

If I need to replace the valve I'm assuming I will need to replace that as well. Is it just "plumbing adhesive" or is there some more specific item I should be looking at?
 
pollinator
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L. Johnson wrote:There's some sort of adhesive material or caulking on the connection between the valve and the pipe under it.

If I need to replace the valve I'm assuming I will need to replace that as well. Is it just "plumbing adhesive" or is there some more specific item I should be looking at?



It's teflon tape. That should help the old one come off, which is usually the hardest part of replacing a valve. The main purpose is to help fill in small gaps that might otherwise leak.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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It's either teflon tape or a paste known as "pipe dope." I use teflon tape unless the valve instructions specifically call for something else.
 
Arthur Angaran
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Hi,  Something to think about.   After living in our new home, (new to us), the water supply line to the toilet burst. I had to shut the water off very quickly. The valve turned like it was new, doing it's job. If I would of had to go looking for a main valve or a pipe wrench the house would of had tons more water. (Hmmm, maybe I could of had an indoor swimming pool.)  If I were you and had a valve problem I would most likely replace it because I might need it to work very quickly.

Happy plumbing, and watch out for your back
 
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L. Johnson,

Have you tried a pipe wrench?  This may be able to give you better leverage than just your hand.  If a pipe wrench does not work on those triangular handles, a strap wrench may work.  A strap wrench is a rubberized, adjustable strap that is attached to a handle.  It is used to fit odd shaped objects such as those valve handles.  Also, the rubber really grips without marring the surface.

This may work, but if it is really frozen solid, maybe try tapping the valve (firmly but gently) to loosen any rust or sticking surfaces.  If you can actually see the valve threads, maybe consider some penetrating oil to help loosen things up.  

Hopefully you can loosen things up without breaking the valve stem.  I would try the added leverage, oil, and tapping before really applying any serious torque.

Good luck!

Eric
 
L. Johnson
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I tried again with heavy leather gloves, and lo and behold the thing turned! Amazing advice.

Getting into it a little bit deeper it looks like I'm going to need some more specialized equipment, so I took pictures of all the wrenches I have so I don't buy any duplicates.

The locking screw on the base of the faucet is on the reverse side and mostly blocked by the counter so I can't actually see the size or shape of the head... I would think it's a hex bolt since a hex wrench is all that will fit in the space... but it turns and turns with no real change.

I decided to take some pics to the home center / hardware store and get advice from a local pro while I get some tools and maybe look at replacement faucets.

I'm also not really sure how to approach the nut that holds the faucet hardware on from underneath the sink. I might need a specialized tool for that one.

I'll update with my progress.
 
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From a diy half ass plumber... If you do wind up needing to remove the valve, first make sure the water to the house is turned off. Then find a  faucet closer to the water source than where you are working, open it up to remove the pressure and most of the water out of the pipes. Now you would have a small trickle to deal with instead of a gush, if you need to remove that valve.
 
Arthur Angaran
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Hi, If you go on ebay and look for "faucet wrench" you can get an idea of what one might look like.   Depending on space, sometimes slip joint pliers, (sometimes called channel lock pliers,) work.   You will also need open end or box wrenches, or adjustable wrenches for the nuts on the tubing and compression fitting.

If you have ha single handle faucet it probably is the rubber inside that is worn.  

And yes, I second it. Turn off the main water supply to the house when working on plumbing.

Good luck
 
L. Johnson
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Thanks again everyone for the continued advice.

I used a mirror to examine the locking bolt on the top-side. It's weird. There's a hole in the center and a ring that looks like a 10mm flat head screw, way wider than any screw bit I have. I might be able to turn it with a coin or something though.

I wonder though now that I'm typing this if there's a screw hiding in the hole... Like one of those threaded tubes with no heads.

Maybe I can shine a light on the mirror to get a better look.

I just gotta say for any future faucet engineers. Don't put these screws on the nearly inaccessible back side of things!

I got some pliers for the under sink side of things and a mini ratcheting multi-head screw driver to get at the hidden screw/bolt.
 
L. Johnson
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Well this has been an educational adventure. Fortunately no major mishaps so far.

I managed to figure out how to remove the old faucet for the most part, removed 90% of the way, measured necessary places, then reinstalled the old one before going to purchase a replacement.

The new faucet looks like it will be a little bit easier to install than the old one was to remove.

I'm out of energy and time today. Hopefully I can get it installed after work tomorrow.

I've already been about ready to throw in the towel about 3 times during this process... I'm glad I've stuck with it so far though. Plumbing and wiring are the only construction skills I have no experience in whatsoever. It's nice to fill out the skill set, hopefully I can pass it on to my kids.
 
L. Johnson
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Thanks everyone one more time. I finished this project and submitted the Badge Bit.

I actually tried to throw in the towel one more time... when the new faucet's supply hoses seemed to be too long. I called the local plumber, but apparently they aren't in business anymore. I'm glad because it made me look at it carefully again. I measured the bend in the hoses and realized they weren't too long after all. It would have been an incredibly wasteful trip for a plumber... "Nah it's good." "Click."

All done and working well.



(more photos in the badge bit link above)

P.S. Apparently the faucet engineers heard my complaint before I bought the new faucet. The locking nut on the new one faces forward!
 
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