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Plumbing in the Home/Stuck Toilet Shut Off Valve



I have a similar problem to the below question on the all experts site:

I tried using a pliers to turn the handle but was afraid that I might break the pipe coming out off the wall if I used too much pressure.

From the description of the valve in the above question it is similar to mine. I need some clarification of the answer since I'm not very handy.

Do I remove the screw in the middle of the oval handle and then remove the handle.  Once I remove the handle I should see a nut that I should loosen, then try turning the stem the handle was attached to.  Once it turns, tighten the nut and replace the handle.

I have the same valve on another toilet.  I can turn the handle on that one, but just 1/8 of a turn counter clockwise.  Is that all it should turn if it's working properly.

Thank you for your help.

Hello Stephen,
The procedure described is pretty accurate and may work in your case. It's worth a shot.

One caution though; these are not very expensive valves and are generally cheaply made.
Excessive pressure to the handle could either break off the handle or in a worst case, actually break the stem itself. Always be aware of where your houses emergency water shut off is located and make sure that it is functional when working on something like this. If you happen to break off a stem and water start spraying around the room you're going to wish you knew where the water shut off is without having to scramble around in a panic. Asked me why I know this. LOL

If these are old style angle stops, they are called "compression" valves which means they have a stem and a washer. While this style has been popular for many years, they do wear out and need to be serviced such as having washers replaced. The problem with that is that you are spending a lot of time and effort to repair a $5 valve which will need to be serviced again in the future.

Compression style valves are rarely used anymore in other than the least critical conditions and when cost is a factor. In other words cheap.  For a quality, essentially lifetime fix, I would highly recommend replacing ALL of the fixture shutoff valves with the new style 1/4-turn ball valves. This would be a good time to also replace the fixture supply lines if they are the cheap plastic kind. I recommend the braided stainless steel type. These never need servicing and will last the life of the home and always function as intended.  They are not that expensive, usually less than $8 each for the angle stops and $8 to $12 for the supplies.  

If as you say, "you are not very handy", this might be something you want to pay a professional to do. It's a one time deal and then you'll never need to deal with this again.
Good Luck,

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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