How to Replace Shutoff Valves

Is it wise to rebuild an old shutoff valve instead of putting in a new one? You may think that this is cheaper, but when you factor in the possibility of problems just reappearing and the decreased efficiency, replacing shutoff valves is a better solution. How do you install a new shutoff valve?

Identifying the Connection

Unfortunately, replacing an old shutoff valve is not as easy as just pushing in the replacement. Normally, the connection is done either by sweat fitting or compression fitting. Older galvanized plumbing pipes should also be switched out together with the worn out shutoff valve.

You also need to inspect if the old pipe is rusted or if the threads are already rotted. Replacing just the shutoff valve without giving due considerations will open you up to more plumbing problems in the future. After you have identified the type of connection used you have to make sure that the match of the new shutoff valve matches the size of the incoming piping as well as the supply tube connection.

For sweat fitting you have to be careful because you will be using a torch so you need to make sure that you have protective clothing to guard against the flame.

Materials and Tools

To make sure that the replacement is done properly you need all the materials and tools necessary. You can buy all of the following materials and tools from your local hardware or home center:

  • • Plumber’s tape;
  • • Soldering torch;
  • • Adjustable wrench;
  • • Slip joint pliers;
  • • Tube cutter;
  • • Solder;
  • • Flux; and
  • • Shutoff valve

Valves that are used for water supply distribution are normally not soldered in place to make it easier to replace them when they wear out.

Type of Shutoff Valve

Replacing an old shutoff valve gives you the chance to replace it with a better type. There are actually 3 different kinds of shutoff valves that you can use for your home plumbing system. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages that will help you make a better decision on what to use.

  1. Stop Valve – this relies on a rubber gasket to create a seal that will stop the flow of water. It is important to make sure that it is installed in the right direction, otherwise it will not work properly. When the rubber gasket is screwed down into the seat in the middle of the valve it is in the closed position.This is often used for toilets and sinks, but winding path taken by the water makes it an inefficient protection against leaks. The need to install it based on a specific installation can also be a downside because the gasket can be forced away as the water gushes through the valve rendering it useless.
  1. Gate Valve – designed with an unobstructed path to allow water to flow through the middle of the valve, it relies on a wedge-shaped gate made of brass to stop the flow. Once it is lowered into the machined slot the valve becomes completely closed. With this type of valve, it is either completely closed or completely opened. Having the gate positioned mid-way will wear away the metal causing the valve to fail faster than necessary.
  1. Ball Valve –this is also a type of full flow valve that relies on a ball pivoting in a plastic bushing to control water flow. The ball is made from stainless steel material and has a drill going through its center. Because of its hard material it can be left partially open without having to worry about wearing it out. The lever is perpendicular to the pipe when the valve is closed and parallel to the pipe when in the open position. This makes it easier to identify whether the valve is open or close. Operating the valve can be difficult if the pipes are installed up against the wall.

Now that you know the type of connection, type of valve you need, and the necessary tools and materials, replacing it becomes easier. To limit the possibility of leaks, have all plumbing installations handled by Scott English Plumbing.