I did something dumb today and I'm panicking. I tried to replace the bathroomfaucet to surprise my husband (mission accomplished on the surprised part) because it was one of his tasks before we (and here's the dumb part) list our condo so we can get a bigger place. I replaced our kitchen faucet no problem. As with the kitchen, I turned the valves under the sink so that no water came out. I pried that old as dirt faucet off the sink and then started to loosen the cold water bolt with a channel lock. When it got loose water started coming out. Like spraying water. I moved the valve around and it doesn't seem to do anything. I did manage to retighten the bolt but now we have a faucet that's literally hanging into the sink.

Now, I live in a condo and where shutting off my main water means everyone loses water, which is what I found out when I asked the hoa president if he knew where our units main water supply shut off is. I called and emailed the hoa admin to see when they would be able to shut off water but no word yet.

I'm thinking now that maybe the valve is broken (?) and may also need to get replaced. So, the question I have (and I have seaehed for this answer) is: is there any way for me to shut off the water if the valves don't seem to be responding and I do not have access to main water? I'll need a plumber regardless at this point but would rather not have to have them sit around while the main water drains.

I'm mortified so any kindness and info would be greatly appreciated


  • You say you "moved the valve around" - but did you actually turn it all the way off? Were you expecting a quarter-turn valve, but perhaps you have a multi-turn?
    – brhans
    Aug 8, 2019 at 12:00
  • If you can post a photo of the valve in question you might get some more specific responses. Sometimes there's a nut on the valve stem to tighten it if the stem is loose (although this doesn't sound like your problem, because a loose stem usually means water is leaking right at the valve). Or maybe it's a multi-turn valve and you only turned it a quarter turn (because most shutoffs are just quarter turn). etc...
    – dwizum
    Aug 8, 2019 at 12:51
  • Sorry, I should have been more clear. I turned it in both directions until I couldn't turn anymore. There was no impact on the water either way. That's why I'm thinking making a valve also needs to be addressed by a plumber because.. My track record isn't great :)
    – Breea
    Aug 8, 2019 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


Depending on access to the pipe in that area, there is a pipe freezing kit available which freezes a small section of pipe. This blocks the flow of water and allows the valve or whatever to be changed.

Some places hire these, and some plumbers have them as part of their kit. Plumbers will normally use the most effective solution for the situation...

  • It is amazing what you learn if you hang around here long enough. I had never heard of a "pipe freezing kit" before reading your answer here. In retrospect it seems like such an obvious solution to a common problem. A few quick queries on Amazon show that there are two basic types of products available. One type is a portable refrigeration unit in the price range of ~3500USD that you plug into an outlet to get it to work. The other type uses a CO2 cylinder (sold separately) to freeze the pipe. These kits are in the 500-600USD price range. These prices (continued)
    – Michael Karas
    Aug 8, 2019 at 10:27
  • (continued from above) do make it a difficult choice for a one time use but it these can apparently be rented from a tool rental shop.
    – Michael Karas
    Aug 8, 2019 at 10:28
  • @MichaelKaras I did say that "some places hire these"... I would also consider making something if I had access to liquid nitrogen - seems to be more common now given the chefs using it... A bath around the pipe and pour it in...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 8, 2019 at 10:34
  • I did see that in your answer after I wrote my comment. I guess I missed it because of the difference in terminology used - "renting" a unit versus "hiring" a unit. In the USA we get so used to things like a "rental car". On the other hand I was on a business trip to Mexico last week and a colleague from Poland, who was at the same site, had a "hire car". I do not like to drive in Mexico so I "hired a ride by UBER".
    – Michael Karas
    Aug 8, 2019 at 10:51
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    Don't take any crap from the HOA. Your plumbing issue is not the first, and won't be the last. TELL them you are going to shut off the water because as an owner you have the right to repair your leaky plumbing. Aug 9, 2019 at 5:54

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