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Old 03-15-2015, 12:25 AM   #1
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House water shutoff valve leaking


My water shutoff valve for the house is leaking out the handle. It shuts the water off just fine, but in any position, it drips out on the handle about once every five minutes or so.

This is in a finished area in the basement on an exterior wall - I have an access area to it with a cover. The access area goes about 3" below the solder. Above the valve, about 5" up, is the pressure reduction valve, the top of the access is about 2" above the pressure valve. The reduction valve has those flat union joints and I replaced it about a year ago just before finishing the area.

This is the valve:

Matco-Norca 600wog-150swp 758, I think it is 3/4", solder on both ends.

http://www.matco-norca.com/product.c.../product_id/12

My question:

Is there a part for the handle/stem, like a bushing or seal that I can replace so it will stop leaking without having to desolder/replace the valve?

I am worried I'll have to tear the drywall off the stud bay it's in to replace it, and would really rather not I have JUST finished the room and the carpet is going in next, but I have to fix this first.

Of course that's when it starts leaking

Any advice is definitely appreciated!

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Old 03-15-2015, 01:06 AM   #2
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House water shutoff valve leaking


Try tightening the hex nut that is just under where the handle attaches to the valve, AKA the gland nut, just a little bit at a time and see if it slows the leakage. There might be an o-ring seal of some sort you can replace, but it will require shutting off the water to the house to find out what is in there. Probably easier to just replace it.

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Old 03-15-2015, 10:53 AM   #3
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House water shutoff valve leaking


"chemman" is correct in that the gland nut probably could be tightened a little. On these type ball valves the handle would have to be removed to gain access to the gland nut. And remember--just a little at the time, like maybe moving the gland nut one flat at the time.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:43 PM   #4
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House water shutoff valve leaking


Yes, this ball valve appears to have a packing nut:

http://www.matco-norca.com/images/product_files/758.pdf

I agree with Chemman and Thurman. Take the handle off and tighten the nut you find UNDER the handle just a bit at a time until the dripping stops. Replace the handle and be careful putting the top nut back on so as not to cross thread it.
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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 03-15-2015 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:14 PM   #5
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House water shutoff valve leaking


DanielRG:

PS: The packing nuts on valves aren't meant to be tightened the way you would normally tighten a nut. When you tighten a packing nut, it compresses a rubber, graphite or teflon sleeve (called a "packing") that fits around the stem of the valve. Tightening the packing causes it to squeeze itself tighter around the stem of the valve, thereby preventing any leakage along the stem which is what is happening in your valve. You only want the packing nut to be tight enough to prevent water leakage. Tightening the packing nut more than is necessary to stop any leakage will only result in the packing wearing out prematurely.
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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 03-15-2015 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:55 PM   #6
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House water shutoff valve leaking


Everyone - thanks so much for your advice! One thing I really like is that you all tend to be in agreement, making it easy to know what to try next

I am hopeful that doing a slight tightening would be sufficient to compress the sleeve. I'll give it a try tomorrow when I'm back to working on the basement finish, and I'll post the results.

2nd option if that doesn't work:

On the datasheet it mentions an upper and lower stem seal. I'm guessing tightening the nut compresses the upper stem seal?

If necessary, is it possible to buy new stem seals and install them without desoldering the valve? Does it just depend on the valve?

3rd option if 2nd isn't possible:

The valve _might_ be able to be replaced without tearing out wallboard, as the pressure valve is this cool kind with unions I can unscrew and come out mostly flat (needs maybe 1/8" of give to pop it out which I have). What do you think? Here's a picture of the whole setup _before_ drywall was put up. As you can imagine, the drywall comes to the edge of the 1x2s, and there is also batt insulation under all the drywall. Right below the access area is where it comes through the foundation.

So working in just the access area, I figure I can unscrew the top and bottom 1x2s to give a little more vertical access, dig out the rigid insulation to give the pipe room to move (and so it won't melt or burn with the soldering), remove the PRV, and then remove and install a new ball valve if necessary. I hope there are other valves that are the same size - that would make it easiest.



4th option (tear out drywall for part of the stud bay) should only be necessary I'm thinking if something weird comes up I hope...
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Old 03-15-2015, 09:39 PM   #7
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House water shutoff valve leaking


DanielRG:

Ignorance is fertile ground for the imagination to run wild.

You won't need to replace or resolder any valves.

Tightening of the packing nut will stop the drip from the ball valve. That's what that nut is there for. That's what it does.

Just be careful putting the upper nut back on so that you don't cross thread it.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:34 PM   #8
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House water shutoff valve leaking


Indeed my ignorance must have been great as my imagination was running wild.

I tightened the packing nut 1/6th of a turn (one flat as Thurman suggested). The leak is gone (I think) - it's been dry as a bone for the last two hours. I cleaned off the corrosion and rust as best I could as well from valve and handle. It's looking [almost] like new.

Thanks much Nestor, Thurman, and chemman!
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:22 PM   #9
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House water shutoff valve leaking


You need a bigger opening so you can work on your PR valve and main shutoff.
You also need a secondary shutoff upstream of the PRV. A ball valve.
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:12 PM   #10
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House water shutoff valve leaking


Ghost-

Unfortunately that is an early picture. The room is finished now, with an access cover and everything. So the size of the opening is what it is at this point. If worse comes to worse ever, I'll have to tear out part of the wall - but I'll wait until that day comes.

I don't know where to put a valve upstream of the PRV, the main shutoff is a ball valve (http://www.matco-norca.com/product.c.../product_id/12) and fills up the only space between where the pipe comes into the house and the PRV- are you saying I need two ball valves in series before the PRV?

On the downstream side, I have another shutoff ball valve (identical model to one in the picture) in the utility room before the main hits the expansion tank/water heater and manifold.

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