Most homes have many water shut off valves. These valves have water going through them and any time you have water you can have problems.
There are (3) Topics associated with this repair. (1) There are 'Different Types of Shut Off Valves', knowing what type you have will aid in fixing it.(2) A large percentage of valves have washers in them. 'Repairing Washered Shut Off Valves' covers this topic. (3) Getting a 'Leaking Shut Off Valves' to stop can be a challenge. See this article for information.
The type of water shut off valve that you have can determine how big of a problem you might have. Some valves rarely give you problems. The problem is that these valves are more expensive and are often not used in residential construction.
Can you repair leaking or troublesome valves yourself? The answer would be yes most of the time. You need to be able to shut off the water before you work on a valve and many times you need the right washers for the repair.
Water Shut Off Valves - The Issues
What Can You Save? - Replacing a washer in a valve should be a service call, $50 to $75. Replacing the entire valve is a bit more work, maybe $100 to $150. The problem is that a leaking valve is a great opportunity for a plumber to sell you some additional work. He may point out other problems with your plumbing. Whether or not you have real problems could be debated. His salesmanship may wind up costing you a lot more.
How Hard Could It Be? - Repairing water shut off valves does involve a little work and may make some mess. These repairs will have a Difficulty Level of: A Bit of Work. These repairs require a Skill Level of: Handyman. For and explanation of the terms in this section, see 'How to Use This Site'.
Check the Simple Things! - A valve that is leaking around the stem may not be shut off all the way. Try tightening the handle. The nut the holds the handle assembly in place may be loose, try tightening here before you assume the washer is bad.
What Can Go Wrong? - Water, that's what can go wrong. Messing with an old valve may make the situation worse. A small leak may become a big leak. Getting a valve apart and not having the right washer to fix it would be another problem. You may have to shut down a major portion or all the water to your house to work on a valve. Making sure you can see the project through to completion is a good idea.
Troubleshooting Water Shut Off Valves
The article 'Types of Water Shut Off Valves' provided a description of the common types of valves you might have in your home.
Valves with washers in them are the most common. The article 'Fixing Washered Water Shut Off Valves' discusses the steps to fix them.
Repairing 'Leaking Shut Off Valves' was the topic of the last segment in this series.
How tough was your water shut off valve problem? Were you able to just tighten one of the nuts and stop a leak? That was not too hard at all. Or did you have to replace a washer? This is a little more work. Shutting the water off, finding the right washer and then actually changing it. Still if you had a washer it may have only been fifteen minutes.
Worst case, you had to replace the valve. For valves on fixtures this is usually not too hard. Replacing these valves with a ball valve will mean you are not likely to have a problem again any time soon.