Why Your Plumbing Shut-Off Valve Is Stuck And How To Fix The Problem

One annoying problem you may encounter with your plumbing is a stuck shut-off valve. Your plumbing system has several of these valves. One is the main valve outside your home that turns off all the water in your house. You'll probably have valves under each sink and toilet too. These valves are essential for shutting off the water when you get a leak or need to do something like replacing a faucet. Here's why these valves get stuck and how to deal with the problem.

Why Plumbing Shut-Off Valves Get Stuck

Stuck valves are common in older plumbing as mineral scale builds up inside the pipes and connections. Corrosion on the outside of the valve can cause it to freeze shut too. This process happens gradually over time since you don't have reason to turn the valves and keep the minerals and rust broken up. Unless you make it a habit to turn the valves occasionally, you may go for years without having to shut off the water supply to a sink, and then when you have an emergency, the valve won't budge.

How To Loosen A Shut-Off Valve

One thing you don't want to do is use a lot of force to open a stuck valve because you can bust the valve or pipe. Instead, spray the valve with penetrating oil and then gently work it back and forth to try to loosen it. You may even need to let the oil sit overnight to seep into the valve. Another thing you can try is to blow hot air from a hair dryer on a valve sprayed with oil to make the oil warmer. If the valve doesn't cooperate, then it's best to call in a plumber to fix the problem. The plumber will loosen the valve and replace it if necessary so it turns freely.

If you're too aggressive with trying to turn the valve to open it, the valve may snap or the water line could crack. When that happens, you'll need to call a plumber for repairs. The plumber can cut out the damaged area of pipe and connect a new pipe and valve so the plumbing is operational again. While it's possible to damage a pipe of any age, if the plumbing in your house is old, you need to be especially careful about doing DIY repairs because the pipes could be corroded inside, meaning that they'll crack easily.

Once the plumber has loosened the valve or replaced it, you can keep it operational by closing and opening it regularly. You might add this task to your cleaning schedule so you do it automatically when you clean under the sink or clean the toilet. A few quick turns could keep the valve from locking up so you can quickly shut off the water in an emergency.

If you're looking for help with your stuck shut-off valve, or need plumbing repairs after dealing with a cracked pipe, call a residential plumber like those at Eddie B Plumbing