DIY: How to Replace a Water Shut-Off Valve

The water shut-off valve can be helpful when you’re trying to turn it off for a plumbing repair or when you are going on a long vacation. However, if you notice that your valve is oxidizing, rusting or leaking water, it might be time to replace it with a new valve.

Some of the most common valves are ball valves, gate valves, and globe valves. Ball valves are probably the most common nowadays due to its longevity. This valve contains a spherical ball that was drilled through from one end to the other. By turning the handle perpendicularly, the channel in the ball will move and seal up the valve opening.

On the other hand, a gate valve functions like a garage door. By turning the stems, the gate is raised up or down. However, the stems of this valve can be easily corroded. So, a gate valve is not the most ideal candidate for replacement.

A globe valve is designed for limiting the flow of water to control the water pressure. The International Residential Code prohibits the use of globe valves for the main shut-off and the water heater. Thus, when replacing a new valve, you should choose a ball valve instead.

how a gate valve looks

Gate valve

Solder-less ball valve

Solder-less ball valve

 

 

Before we start, gather needed supplies:

  1. New valve
  2. Emery cloth/steel wool/sandpaper
  3. Pipe cutter (mini hacksaw)

Additional materials for soldering:

  1. Wire brush
  2. Pipes
  3. Pipe Fittings
  4. Soldering paste (flux)
  5. Propane torch
  6. Solder wire

Procedure:

Step 1:  Identify where your water valves are and shut it off.

Typically, they are located at the street side and inside perimeter of your home. When shutting off the water valve from the street, you might need to contact your water company, and they might charge a fee for that.

Step 2: Turn off water heater and drain the pipes

If you have gas water heater, set it to “pilot” position; if you have electric water heater, shut off the circuit board. Open a faucet on the lowest level of your house, then another faucet on an upper level to drain the pipes.

Step 3: Cut/saw the pipe

Start with one end of the pipe, use a hacksaw or pipe cutter to cut as closely to the old valve as possible. Then, cut the other end off.

Pipe cutter

We recommend a pipe cutter for safety purposes.

Step 4:  Prep the pipe

Use a wire brush to clean the inside, making sure that there is no remaining burr. Then, remove the paint and buff both ends of the pipe until it is shiny with emery cloth, sand paper, or steel wool. Remember to deburr the inside of the pipe too.

emery cloth

Use emery cloth to shine the pipes

wire brush for pipe cleaning

wire brush for pipe cleaning

Step 5: Measure the new valve

Measure to check if you need to solder the pipes, so that your new valve can meet the ends of the pipe. If you do not need to solder the pipes, you can move on to Step 7.

Step 6: Sweat/solder the pipe

Apply a layer of soldering paste (flux) to where the pipes will meet. The paste should cover about 1 inch of pipe. Then, insert the pipe into the fitting, twist it a bit to ensure even spreading of the flux, and use a propane torch to melt some solder wire on where the pipes meet.

Step 7: Install the new valve

Slip the pipe into the new valve and tighten both the ends.

Step 8: Check for leakage

Check to see if there is any leakage, if so tighten more.

 

If you run into any issues, Contact ELA Home Repairs at 800-368- PROS (7767) to consult a professional.

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