What to Do if Your Water Control Valve Is Leaking

What You'll Need
4-in-1 screwdriver
Adjustable wrench

A leaking water control valve is not an uncommon sight. Do not panic if your water control valve springs a leak one day. There are some really simple things that you can do to first determine what is causing the leak and then fix it. Usually, a very simple repair job is required to stop the leak but the result is rewarding! This step-by-step guide will help you determine the cause of your leaking water control valve and will teach you how to stop the leak. The tools and materials required for the job are given below. 

Step 1 – Tighten the Packing Nut 

Usually, the cause of a leaking water control valve is so clear and out there, that it is extremely easy to solve. Most of the time when you turn the water control valve under a sink for example, you might notice a leak. The leak is usually in a brand new shut off valve and can be observed by looking at droplets of water leaking from around the handle area whenever turned on. This leak can be originating from the valve stem. The valve stem usually passes through a packing nut and washer. The first thing you should do is to get hold of a big adjustable wrench and tighten the packing nut of the water control valve.  

There is a way to tighten the packing nut. You have to use a big wrench, but do not tighten too much. Usually, 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch is enough to stop a leak. You should do a tightening ‘check’ always by tightening as less as you can so that you do not damage the packing nut. If the leak does not stop even after the packing nut has been tightened, there may be a problem with the washer and it will have to be replaced. 

Step 2 – Shut off Water 

If you have determined that the packing screw area is not the cause of the leak, it is time to focus on other sources. First, shut off the water supply. There will be a valve in the main water supply that you can turn to shut off the water that is being supplied to this water control valve. 

Step 3 – Remove the Handle and Install New Washer 

Once the water supply is turned off, remove the handle from the stem. This will expose the packing nut completely. You can then loosen the packing nut and remove it. When you have removed the packing nut, remove the old leaky washer from inside and replace it with a new one by simply sliding it in.  

Step 4 – Reinstall Packing Nut and Finish the Job 

When you have changed the washer, reattach the packing nut. Use a wrench to tighten it but do not overdo it. Then attach the handle. Turn on the water supply and check for leaks. If the water has stopped leaking now, your job is done.