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How to Replace a Shutoff Valve

You can replace a leaky or stuck shutoff valve in an hour, so replace the bad one under the sink or behind the toilet before it gets worse. It'll be a comfort to know that you can quickly turn the water off in case of a sudden overflowing toilet or leaky faucet problem!

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Replace a leaky shutoff valve

Old shutoff valves often develop leaks when you shut them off to install or repair a plumbing fixture. Whenever you replace or work on a fixture, check the shutoff valves and replace them if they look old or are hard to turn. Turn off the water at the water main. Open a basement faucet and the faucet above your shutoff valve. We show you how to replace a shutoff valve that's soldered to a copper water line. If you have galvanized steel or plastic supply lines, buy the appropriate shutoff valves for your system. Disconnect the faucet supply lines (Photo 1). If you have compression fittings, unscrew the compression nut and remove the old valve. If your fitting is soldered on, you can cut it off, but chances are there won't be enough pipe left to attach a new valve. Photo 2 shows how to unsolder an old fitting with a propane torch. Use a flame protecting cloth to keep flammable surfaces inside the cabinet from burning. Sand off remaining solder with an emery cloth, and then proceed to Photo 3 to hook up the new valve.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Adjustable wrench
    • Locking pliers
    • Soldering torch
Flame-protecting cloth

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Shutoff valve

Comments from DIY Community Members

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May 28, 8:52 PM [GMT -5]

successfully sweating copper comes down to having clean copper!
if you have an old joint that you heat up to remove a bad valve, all the old solder needs to be removed before sweating a new one. it can be wiped fairly clean when hot, but must be sanded with abraisive to bare copper before sweating anew. clean bare copper is golden, old solder is silver / green. if you cant get bare copper, the joint will fail. when soldering new, remember solder flows to the heat. heat the joint evenly, but always touch new solder opposite from the heat to insure a good hot flowing joint. all parts of new joints must be clean!!!!

February 25, 6:43 PM [GMT -5]

What if the valve is leaking after you install it? Mine are both leaking from the back of nut. Any thoughts on how I can fix?

November 12, 11:51 AM [GMT -5]

@llw314 This guide essentially has you replace a soldered shutoff valve with one connected by a compression fittings.

October 12, 6:41 PM [GMT -5]

Again, you show removing with a torch, but you don't show sweating a new valve on with a torch. You are not alone: about every other site does the same thing!

June 26, 8:30 PM [GMT -5]

6/26/11 I have to replace the valve (no soldering involved,thankfully) the screw that held the handle on broke off so I can't turn the water off under the sink. Have the valve ready to go on, but can't break loose the old valve :/ any suggestions how to loosen it for removal? working under bathroom sink inside vanity so I can't get much leverage.

March 19, 12:42 PM [GMT -5]

How to remove the sweated shut off valve if it there is water in the line. One of my valves has a nut near the handle so we removed that and it opened up the pipe. Another one, however, is brasscraft quarter turn and only has a screw holding the handle and we cannot turn that screw. I assume there is a stem there that could come out if we got the handle off. Any suggestions.

December 30, 6:10 PM [GMT -5]

if you stuff bread into the water line it stays plugged long enough to finish the job and then it will break down and run it self through the tap later on.

December 14, 1:19 AM [GMT -5]

If removing an existing compression valve, you need two wrenches-- one to turn the nut and the other holding the valve in place. Pay attention to the direction: turn the nut clockwise to loosen.

I needed a ferrule puller to remove the previous compression sleeve-- don't know how I would have been able to remove it otherwise.

July 16, 12:12 PM [GMT -5]

I checked NO, as I am presently working on this project. As above, more on soldering method would be of great help, also maybe a solution to stopping the water from coming out of water supply pipe? The heat from torch draws out the water, thus preventing a good solid solder, I was told to use balled up bread to stop the flow, but it did not work for me. Any ideas? Thank you.

July 06, 3:25 PM [GMT -5]

You need to show a soldered faucet method as well.
Tips for getting the old faucet desoldered. i.e. getting enough heat on the joint to melt the solder.

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How to Replace a Shutoff Valve

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