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C4per 11-14-2012 10:25 PM

Shut off valve for outdoor spigot
3 Attachment(s)
We are currently getting our house ready for winter and are having a bit of trouble closing the shut off valve for the outdoor spigot. We are able to turn the valve enough to stop the flow of water to outside, we let the remaining water bleed out, yet it seems that we are still getting a small leak coming from the valve stem. I've searched the internet for similar problems, all pointing to the possibility that the packing nut just needs to be tightened. This seemed an easy enough task, only when I took a look at the valve there appears to be NO packing nut. Is there any way to have this leak stopped at least for the winter, as we are planning on replacing the older valves with ball valves in the spring. Our house is about 30 years old, we took ownership about 2 1/2 years ago and we are thinking the people before us never bothered to shut off the valve each winter as the opening in the ceiling's drywall could barely fit my child-like hands to be able to turn the valve handle. We live in Eastern Ontario where the temps can reach as low as -40c, the previous owners may not have had any problems in previous winters but we feel more comfortable taking the extra steps to ensure we don't have any unfortunate pipe bursts, especially since there is a tv directly below the valve in the basement. In the summer when it's open it's fine and we have no worries, it's just closing that seems to give us problems, we keep opening then closing a few times before it seems to keep a good 'seal' but it would be nice to know if there's something better we can do than just hope that it's closed. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The three pictures attached are as follows:
valve 1 is the actual shut off valve for the outdoor spigot
Attachment 60521

valve 2 is the best pic I could get of the side view of the valve, apologies for the low quality (it's a tight space)
Attachment 60522

valve 3 is a picture of another valve we have in the house that appears to be the same type used for the outdoor spigot
Attachment 60523

Bondo 11-15-2012 05:28 AM

Ayuh,... The hex under the blue handle is the packin' nut...

I'd just swap it out with a ball valve/ bleeder, 'n be done with it...

COLDIRON 11-15-2012 05:33 AM

Did you try opening and closing the valve several times? When valves are not exercised for a long period of time they get build up or particles and just need to be turned a couple times.

hammerlane 11-15-2012 05:41 AM

I had same issue was the rubber washer inside the housing of the valve was kind of seperated from its seat not allowing the washer to fully make contact with the mating surface. I did not discover this until I cut the valve out and replaced it with a ball valve. Then I took the old valve apart and found the dislodged washer.

plumberinlaw 11-15-2012 11:05 AM

Install a new valve, easy peasy.

hammerlane 11-15-2012 11:24 AM


Originally Posted by plumberinlaw (Post 1052793)
Install a new valve, easy peasy.

Or take the old valve apart and replace the seat washer. Easier than peasy.

C4per 11-15-2012 08:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the suggestions:) We are hoping to wait until spring before replacing it with a ball valve, and so are trying out the tips on tightening the packing nut, I wasn't sure if that's what was there as every time I searched for 'tightening a packing nut' the same pictures kept popping up where it looks like an extra nut apart from what we have, but it's good to have that cleared up. Anyhoo, we tried tightening the nut but it doesn't seem to want to budge. It's driving us nuts that it's still leaking a bit of water, again it's basically leaking enough to look like it drips about 4 or 5 times in a day so it's very minimal, but it shouldn't be doing that at all. We have tried opening and closing a few times, we may try that again after trying to tighten the packing nut again. If that doesn't work we're willing to try replacing the rubber washer as suggested, if we can manage to unscrew that nut!

Also I am including another picture showing the opening in the ceiling we have to work with, we even cut it larger from the previous size, we just don't want to end up having to cut out a huge hole in the ceiling. If we had drop ceilings we'd be laughing though, too bad they hadn't thought of that :huh:
Attachment 60552

747 11-15-2012 08:13 PM

Shut water off at main and sweat in a new ball valve. Alot of old valves are compression fitting. Sometimes just tightening will work.

hammerlane 11-16-2012 07:49 AM

5 Attachment(s)
Here was my old valve...note the cuts in the washer. As far as putting a larger hole in the drywall ceiling to work...drywall repair is not that big a deal for that size.

jagans 11-16-2012 08:48 AM

I am not sure why you are waiting till the spring to accomplish such an easy task. Simply replace the valve. Once you have even a little groove in the seat, which is non replaceable, the valve is shot. (USA made valves used to have replaceable seats, you replaced the seat,washer, and packing, and voila, you have a new valve. No more today. Goodbye USA, Hello China)

It looks like it is kind of tight in there, so backup the pipe with asbestos (Strat-o-lite) siding if you have any so you dont burn your house down. Wet the joists around the joint too, and have a fire extinguisher at hand. As an added tip, when you open this type of old style valve, you should open it all the way, then turn it in 1/4 to 1/2 turn so the stem does not freeze to the packing nut. You could also consider shark bite fittings if you are worried about soldering in close quarters. Oh, and move the TV ;-)

COLDIRON 11-16-2012 12:51 PM

Replace the valve with a ball waste valve.

jagans 11-16-2012 02:52 PM

Are you kidding me?
What is the valve doing there??? I did not see the hole you were trying to work through.


1. Follow that line back to where it originates, and install a valve with a bleeder there. In the winter, close the valve, remove the bleeder, and blow it clear with compressed air. make sure you install the valve with the flow arrow in the right direction.

2. Cut out the ceiling from joist to joist, thats 14.5 inches between joists at 16 inches OC. Install blocking between joists and picture frame opening with mitered casing hanging the inner edge inside 1/2 inch on all sides. Put a 14-3/8 square piece of painted Luan (Philappean Mahogany, very water resistant) up in between the joists before you install the casing and you have an access panel to the valve, and room to work on it.

C4per 11-23-2012 09:50 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hey all, I want to thank everyone for all the great advice in regards to our situation. After attempting to tighten the packin nut, it hadn't stopped the leak except it seemed to actually drip faster when it was open, plus we could hardly budge the nut and were worried we might damage the soldering on the pipes trying to take it off. And so, after great consideration, we decided to take the advice of just having the valve replaced with a ball valve, as it'll make it easier for opening and closing each year. We were hoping to not have to do any more work on the house this year, that's why we were looking to see if there was anything we could do with what we already had.

Anyways this is the result, ain't she a beaut!
Attachment 60907

COLDIRON 11-24-2012 06:08 AM

Yes she is.

SeniorSitizen 11-24-2012 06:34 AM

Just don't attempt to throttle with it.

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