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Densec 04-28-2010 06:16 AM

Leaky valve
I have an old valve, which has lot of green crud on it, on a copper water pipe which was fine until I turned it and a very slow drip started but has now stopped. I am trying to decide if I should have a plumber fix it or wait. I would rather not spend the money right now. Trying to avoid water damage.

Thanks in advance for feedback.

oh'mike 04-28-2010 06:40 AM

You should be able to stop the drip on a gate valve by tightening up the cap nut.--That is the nut at the top of the valve with the stem and handle sticking through it.
1/4 turn should do it. There is a flexible packing under the nut--this needs to be compressed a bit more if it's dripping.

I suggest that you take a look around the house and find all of the old gate valves and consider changing them to ball valves. Often they break --in the off position--on a Saturday night--of a holiday weekend.:laughing:

majakdragon 04-28-2010 08:49 AM

You didn't say where the drip was coming from on the valve, so I have to go with Mike and think it is the packing nut. This nut should be snugged while the valve is in the open position.

Densec 04-29-2010 07:19 AM

Thanks for the great feedback. At this point I am going to play it safe and have a plumber look at it.

majakdragon 04-29-2010 11:06 AM

Densec, if the valve is leaking anywhere except the packing nut, and is soldered in, I agree with calling a Plumber. Paying $50 to $75 to have a Plumber tighten the packing nut is not a good idea. Copper/brass valves and fittings often look bad due to oxidation, but it doesn't interfere with the operation. Could also be flux that was not removed after soldering that is causing the discoloration. Good luck with whatever way you solve the problem.

Densec 04-29-2010 11:47 AM

Thanks for the feedback Majakdragon. I had actually reconsidered the plumber after I posted that. It did stop leaking. I am going to take a closer look and see if tightening the packing nut is loose. I haven't worked with plumbing much and panicked a little.

I would think the plumber will recommend switching to a ball valve, which will be better, but I don't want to spend that money right now.

I agree with oh'mike that I should switch them all. But I think I will wait.

majakdragon 04-29-2010 11:52 AM

I am sure Mike was referring to replacing when you know the old valve is bad. While ball valves are much better than gate valves, it is not economically sound to just replace a valve that is working fine.

Densec 04-29-2010 11:53 AM


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