shut off valve

Replacing your shut-off valve is a simple process if you have the right tools, follow the right steps and you are patient enough to get it right.  You can rebuild an old shut-off valve now and again, but the problems will keep reappearing. A worn-out shut-off valve can also get you in an emergency plumbing situation real fast. All you need to do is get familiar with the water system you intend to work on. If you are working on a budget and not planning to contact your professional plumber just yet, here are the 11 steps you need to follow when replacing your shut-off valves.

1. Purchase a new replacement shut off valve

Purchase a valve that is the exact match of the one you are replacing. The thread, size, and type should all be the same. The iron pipe fittings and the compression fittings are usually not interchangeable. If you can’t completely shut off the water to remove the valve and take it to the plumbing shop, take photos and measurements of it.

2. Set up the proper tools 

Use channel-lock pliers or an open-end wrench or a crescent to remove the shut-off valves located under the sink. Make sure you use appropriate tools so that you don’t damage your fixtures or harm yourself while working. For a bigger valve, use a pipe wrench to remove it as you hold it using another wrench.

3. Turn off the valve next to the supply line

Find the valve next to the supply, far away from the one you want to shut off. It can be the house shut-off valve, the meter shut off, or the water heater. Gently twist it to put it off to prevent water from coming out of the valve you are planning to replace. 

4. Drain out all the water

Drain out all the water above you, if you’ve shut off a valve in the basement or on the first floor in a two-story building. Most drainage systems are not airtight enough. They can’t hold back any water left inside. So you should give it time for all the water to drain out. If the water continues to gush out, it means you haven’t properly turned off the valve.

  • If there’s a floor above you, get outside and open the outside faucet if they come directly from the house. This allows water to divert outside instead of running into your floor.
  • If you’re planning to replace a valve that’s on a faucet, open it up, to allow water in the pipes you intend to work on.

5. Remove the old shut off valve

Use the right wrench to remove the valve you want to replace. Ensure the pipe you’re threading the valve off of does not twist and if it does, put another wrench on it.

6. Fix the proper pipe joint compound to your pipe threads

Depending on the pipe choose the right pipe compound for your pipe threads. If you need help, ask at your local plumbing shop. 

7. Install your new shut off valve

Tighten the new shut-off valve with a wrench until it is snug and in the proper location for the supply line.

8. Shut off your new valve

Securely twist the shut-off valve to turn it off then proceed to the next step.

9. Close down the drains

Remember the faucets you had opened to drain the system, turn them off now. Once you turn the water back on, there shouldn’t be water gushing out of them.

10. Reopen the water lines

11. Check for any leaks from the valve

Use a towel to wipe the valve dry. Turn the faucet on and allow it to run for some time. If new droplets form on the valve, there is a leak. 

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