Plumbing in the Home/fixing a shutoff valve


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?



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

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jay Nicholas


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


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

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

©2017 All rights reserved.