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I am trying to close the tap which connects to my toilet tank but the tap will not budge. I don't think that this tap has been touched in more than 3 years. Is there a way to fix it so that I can turn the tap on or off?

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If you do get the valve to turn, realize that the mineral deposits will likely move into the valve inside the toilet itself. This will cause the toilet to run slow. They have ways to clean these out depending on the model. –  BMitch Jan 7 '12 at 14:21
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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unfortunately there is not going to be any "trick" that is going to make this easy. Corrosion or mineral deposits may have bonded some of the moving parts. There are basically two ways to attack this problem. Either use brute force or attempt to disassemble the valve. Before doing either, be sure to locate and check the operation of the main water shut off that feeds this toilet. You want to be sure you can turn off the water if the jammed valve in question leaks, needs to be disassembled, or removed/replaced.

Personally, I won't mess around with an old valve for long because a new 1/4 turn ball valve replacement is cheap ($4 - $7), and easy to sweat in place with a new feeder/riser tube or flexible Stainless steel hose to the toilet.

Let's try operating your frozen valve. The brute force method is simply using a pair of pump pliers or a medium length monkey wrench on the handle. Get a grip on the thing and try to open it using the leverage and length of the pliers etc. Applying enough force with a long enough handle will either move the valve or break the valve handle. Assuming you are able to get the thing to move, the next step is to check it for leaks and see if it will close tightly again. Often, they will not close completely as the seats may be damaged or debris is stuck inside. This is were disassembling the valve comes into play. By removing the nut from the valve body on the operating shaft, you can pull the whole cartridge out. Once this cartridge is out, you can inspect it, clean out debris, replace bushings or packings etc and reassemble. If this is an old multi turn valve, it is rarely worth the time and energy to fix it. However, it can be done. This is where I refer you to plan 1, replace it with a new 1/4 turn ball valve.

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Any reason not to use a compression fitting instead? Easier to install for most DIY'ers –  Steven Jan 7 '12 at 17:31
    
I have never been a fan of 1/2 compression fittings, but that doesn't mean they work OK. Obviously, most all 3/8" fittings are compression types, sleeve or neoprene gasket and work great. I'm just of the school that a permanent install on a feed that is not designed to be taken off for maintenance actions should be soldered. –  shirlock homes Jan 8 '12 at 12:03
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Buy a new 1/4 turn ball valve and replace it, because that's what you're going to have to end up doing anyway, and just going right to the end and doing it now will save you some swearing, bruised knuckles, water all over the floor, and a second trip to the hardware store.

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Before brute forcing it, give the valve some serious taps with a hammer. That can sometimes cause the mineral deposits to fracture enough to allow a valve to open. If that works, exercise the valve a dozen or so times to clear out the gunk.

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