My main water shut off valve is in my laundry room. The valve is a most likely a globe valve. The handle is missing and the piece sticking out is stripped. I’ve use vice grips to turn it but it has made it worse. I’m thinking I have to shut the water off at the street before I try to fix it. I’d prefer not to have to cut the pipe. Any ideas?

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. It's hard to see the valve in your picture; would you add a better one, and perhaps include the surrounding piping? And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Sep 2 '19 at 19:10
  • Were you operating the valve for any particular reason? Or are you just concerned about fixing it? – JACK Sep 2 '19 at 19:14
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    I had a pipe burst in the bathroom and could not get the water shut off all the way. I used a sharkbite to stop the leak in the bathroom but now I want to fix it. – Samantha Mingus Sep 2 '19 at 20:10

Yes. Shut off the water off at the street before you try to fix it. Elsewise you will get a big flood. Then put in a ball valve. Ball valves work faster than gate valves, which can come in handy in an emergency. Ball valves last a long time and work even if they are unused for long periods of time.


The reason you could not shut the water all the way off was because the gate valve was pitted and corroded inside so the gate didn't seat tightly in the body allowing water to flow. Your only solution is to replace the valve and you would have to shut off the water by the meter to do this. You will also have to cut the pipe unless there's a union there. The valve is soldered in place. After it is cut out you can probably get shark bite fittings to replace it but being old school I'd go with soldering in a new one since it's your main water feed. Do yourself a favor and get a ball valve instead of a gate valve.

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    If you are going to solder it in, no need to cut, just unsolder it... – Ecnerwal Sep 3 '19 at 1:00
  • @Ecnerwal You still would have to move it or the pipe to get it out of the valve... If the pipe is coming through the slab and then through a wall, not going to be much movement to remove valve without cutting it out – JACK Sep 3 '19 at 1:14
  • Not clear how the pipes run from the limited, close-in pictures. Barring certain idiot builders who do such things, they are usually serviceable as installed, because it would have been a pain to install them in the first place otherwise. But sure, cut it out if need be, and install a union as well as a valve if you need to do that. – Ecnerwal Sep 3 '19 at 12:58
  • Ok thanks! This house has been put together crazy. You can see all the short cuts they took. It passed inspection but only because the guy didn’t check closely. An example would the change of 2 prong to 3 with no ground or sticker. – Samantha Mingus Sep 3 '19 at 15:24

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