Plumbing in the Home/fixing a shutoff valve

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Question
Hello Jay,

One of the water shutoff valves in my basement is not working. When I turn the handle to the right to shut off the water, the handle just keeps on turning. I can't remove the handle because it is attached to the stem with a very tight nut instead of a screw. Can I remove by removing the packing nut or is that not possible since the water is running?

Thanks,

Peggy

Answer
Hello,
If the stem is not turning but the handle is them the handle is stripped and most likely the stem  knurling that mates with the handle. The valve is shot and needs replacing. Try to hold the stem with a wrench or pliers and remove the nut and the handle and inspect the end of the stem. If there are still grooves then you may be able to find a new handle. (slim chance)
If the stem is turning along with the handle then the valve is stripped and will need replacing as well.
The bottom line here is it will be better to change out the valve now and not waste time trying to repair it. It won't last.

Plumbing in the Home

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Jay Nicholas

Expertise

Plumbing & Heating (warm air, hot water & steam heat)

Experience

40 years in the business, 35 years as a lic. master plumber in NY State. Retired

Education/Credentials
Graduated Magna cum laude at the School of Hard Knocks

Past/Present Clients
Commercial, residential and light industrial. You name it ...I have probably worked on it

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