How To Repair a Leaky Water Shutoff Valve


A leaking shutoff valve is quite common here in Phoenix, where hard water is often to blame for pipes corroding and leaking. Actually, hard water and our incredibly affective sun are to blame. If you don’t know where your water shutoff valve is, don’t read on any further but jump to a recent blog on where to find it. If you do know where that valve is and you’re beginning to notice some corrosion, calcium buildup or just a slow drip, read on and learn how our expert Phoenix plumbers would take care of the problem.


Fixing a Leaky Valve

It’s not uncommon for water shutoff valves to leak a bit when being turned on or off, so don’t be alarmed if there is some leakage at these times. However, if you notice the leaking continues, or if there is corrosion or calcium buildup around the pipes, you have more of a problem. Our Phoenix plumbers come across leaky pipes of all shapes and sizes many times throughout our work week, and each one is unique. Here at the plumbing tools you will need:


  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Packing


Step One: You might not have a serious problem, but just a loose valve-packing nut. Go ahead and simply turn the packing nut counterclockwise. The leak should get drastically worse. Now turn it clockwise. This might actually stop the leak. If you notice it has, you’re done! Great work DIY plumber! If it didn’t work and the valve is still leaking, you can always give our speedy Phoenix plumbers a call, or jump to step two.


Step Two: It could be highly possible that the packing material behind the nut is not stopping the water as it should, so your next step is to remove the packing nut as well as the old packing from around the stem of the valve. This is best done with a toothpick. Be extremely careful not to damage the brass surfaces. (Remember, C. Slany Phoenix Plumbers are always just a phone call away).


Step Three: You’ll need to re-wrap the clean stem with new packing to help seal the water. Keep in mind that there are better, more efficient and reliable options for your home water shutoff valve, which you can talk to our Phoenix plumbers about. But for this DIY project, the easiest fix for the DIY plumber is to replace the old packing.


Step Four: Replace the packing nut and tighten, but do not over tighten as it will compress the packing too much and defeat the purpose of replacing the packing.


There you have it. Turn the water back on and inspect your work. You will need to step outside to inspect the water shutoff valve about once an hour for the next few hours to be sure it’s holding and not leaking. And then perhaps once a day for the next few days just to be absolutely sure.


If you notice that the shutoff valve is still leaking, it’s definitely time to call a Phoenix plumber. The valve stem may not be seating properly due to wear, and you’ll want an expert plumber to take care of the problem. In most situations, our C. Slany Plumbing professionals will replace the entire piping, along with the valve, and give you not only an updated and upgraded water shutoff valve, but one far more reliable. The very last thing you need is a water line burst in the home and not be able to turn off the main water.


If you do notice corrosion, calcium and the signs of a leak on your water shutoff valve, I suggest that you call our Phoenix plumbers as quickly as possible instead of going the DIY route. Out of all the valves, pipes and fixtures throughout your home, this is the one thing that you absolutely want working well at all times.