Toilet Shut Off Valve Pipe Leaking: What to Do Toilet Shut Off Valve Pipe Leaking: What to Do

What You'll Need
Pair of pliers
Masking tape
Soft, clean rag
Small plastic container
Correct size replacement valve
Open end crescent wrench
Pipe wrench or channel lock pliers
Joint compound

A leak in a toilet shut off valve can be quite annoying, mostly because the leak is usually so inconspicuous that by the time you notice it, you’ve already got a large pool of water collecting in a certain area, which you’ve managed to either slip on or drop something in. Luckily, fixing this type of leak is a very easy thing to do, even for a non-handy man. Replacing the whole valve is actually a pretty easy and inexpensive thing to do, and the part can most likely be found at any local hardware store that stocks plumbing supplies.  However, if you’d like to try your hand at repairing the leak first, follow these extremely simple steps, and if that doesn’t work, then move on to the second option.

Option 1:  Repairing the Shut Off Valve

Step 1 – Shut Water Off

Turn off the main water supply in the house.

Step 2 – Try Tightening the Packing Nut

Sometimes the cause of the leak is simply a loose packing nut that needs to be screwed on a little tighter.  Before using the pliers, place a couple of pieces of masking tape on each side of the jaws. This will prevent the pliers’ ridges from damaging the surface of the nut. Now simply turn the pliers in a clock-wise direction to tighten as much as possible. If the loose nut was the problem, this should fix the leak. If not, go on to step 3.

Step 3 – Disassemble the Valve

This next step will require you to disassemble the parts to the shut-off valve, but without taking it apart from the water supply line and the line to the toilet. Just unscrew the handle and take off the packing nut, the threaded valve stem, and the neoprene washer rings.

Step 4 – Clean the Washers

Take a clean rag and wipe of the washer rings, being careful to get rid of any mineral deposits. Flex the rings a little bit to help the neoprene retain some of its flexibility.

Step 5 – Reassemble the Valve

Reassemble the valve, but DO NOT put any kind of pipe dope or putty on the rings, which would make future repair or replacement more difficult.

Step 6 – Turn Water On

Turn the house water supply on again and drain the pipe. Use the plastic container to catch any excess water left in the valve. There shouldn’t be much.

Option 2:  Replacing the Shut Off Valve

Step 1 – Shut Water Off

Turn off the main water supply in the house.

Step 2 – Remove the Old Valve

Use the appropriate wrench to unfasten and remove the old valve. Make sure the pipe doesn't twist, and if it does, use a second wrench to hold the pipe in place.

Step 4 - Connect the New Valve

Take the pipe threads and apply joint compound to them. Connect the new valve and use the wrench to tighten it, while making sure that it is correctly lined up with the supply line. Turn off any drains that were opened during the process and re-connect the supply line.

Step 4 – Turn Water On

Turn the house water supply on again and drain the pipe. Use the plastic container to catch any excess water left in the valve. There shouldn’t be much.

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