My main water shutoff valve currently has no handle.

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Is it possible to replace the handle? If so, what type of handle would I need? I don't see any obvious way to attach one.

Or would the entire valve need to be replaced?

The valve is currently open. I haven't tried to close it, so there's a possiblity that the valve may need to be replaced anyway.


The flutes get worn with time. It is possible to get a replacement handle of the same diameter and number of flutes, but the mating flutes may be so worn that the new handle will not engage.

I think you could operate the valve with a small pipe wrench. After a number of on-off cycles a pipe wrench would chew up the end of the stem, but how often do you cycle the valve. If I were you I would keep a pipe wrench handy in case of an emergency.

There are replacement handles with a "knife edge" and a set screw which might work. There is another type too the "Mandle" https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Plumbing-Handle-Emergency-Replacement-One/dp/B00M16DANU

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    I'd suggest channellocks and not a pipe wrench. I find you can do more damage, especially when such a small thing like a valve stem, with a pipe wrench. – HazardousGlitch Oct 22 '18 at 17:52
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    What about locking pliers, common brand name Vise-Grips? – Jim Stewart Oct 22 '18 at 18:05
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    I'd say those would be fine. – HazardousGlitch Oct 23 '18 at 1:34

Consider adding ANOTHER valve

Many years ago when my plumber was doing some work (I think water heater replacement, with no separate shutoff valve for the water heater), he found that the existing old main shutoff valve would only cut ~ 90%. So he turned off the water at the meter (which also only worked around 90%) and then, with a relatively slow flow of water coming through, cut the pipe and installed a second valve, something like this 1/4 turn ball valve.

In my case, the old valve and new valve are both inside the house. Since your existing valve is outside you might want to install a new valve inside if there is an accessible location before the pipe splits off to different parts of the house.

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    If the old valve is a "gate" valve, it is possible that it would not shut off the flow completely. And if you would get it fully or partially closed it is possible that it would then refuse to reopen. One-quarter turn (full open to full close) ball valves are now the standard. If the valve requires multiple turns to close, then it might be a gate valve. – Jim Stewart Oct 23 '18 at 0:42

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