top sideview main

Yes, I know it's rust, but should I be concerned? In the third picture you can see the complete layout, to the right is where the water enters the house with the first valve (green) before the meter, then the red is the primary shutoff.

This is in a house we moved into, but do I need to worry about turning it if I need to? In the sideview, it looks like it's just the handle, perhaps it hasn't rusted inside the valve?

It doesn't appear anything has been dripping on it, just seems odd why there is so much rust. Can I replace the handle?

  • 1
    maybe some water ran down the white plasic sheet on regular basis .... you can remove the handle, clean it up with a wire brush and smear it with phosphoric acid based rust remover
    – jsotola
    Feb 6, 2020 at 23:14
  • And while you're at it, just for your peace of mind, shut the valve down and check a faucet for any water flow. I doubt there'll be any but you'll feel better knowing it works in case you someday really need that shutoff.
    – HoneyDo
    Feb 7, 2020 at 0:17
  • 1
    TIL: don't buy "Smith-Cooper" valves. It's leaking out of its stem. If this was the main shut off, then you should be concerned, but it isn't. Should you replace the handle? No. Not unless you're prepared to sweat another valve in after opening a can of worms.
    – Mazura
    Feb 7, 2020 at 7:54

6 Answers 6


You can replace the handle but you've probably have to take it off a new valve that you'd buy. No reason to do that though, just wire brush the valve and throw a little rust remover on it. That's the main shutoff and there could have been a leak above it ,maybe on another faucet, that just ran down the pipe before or after the insulation was added. So clean it up and keep an eye of it to see if it starts to rust again. I wouldn't worry about operating the valve as they are probably the best valves on the market.

  • That top nut should come off simply by holding the handle in place and taking a wrench to it, correct? I haven't ever swapped a handle out like that, so just covering my bases.
    – v15
    Feb 7, 2020 at 14:27

The cadmium ( possibly zinc) coating has corroded off the steel handle ; this was caused by being wet. It should be easy enough to replace the handle although you may need to buy a similar valve just to get a handle . To clean the rust and coat the old handle you will need to remove the handle anyway. By taking the old handle with you to a store , you should be able to get an equal replacement. Find out why it gets wet , my guess is condensation during hot weather . A layer of grease or vasoline will help protect the new handle from the water corrosion.

  • Cadmium coating? Isn't cadmium toxic?
    – user253751
    Feb 7, 2020 at 12:24
  • 1
    Everything is toxic , depending on the amount . I use a liquid food that contains Fe, Mg, Zn,Se,Cu, Mo,Cr, Mn, and other stuff in safe amounts. Feb 7, 2020 at 20:45

The iron handle is rusting. The actual valve and stem it is on is brass and not rusting. It replaces the way you mention in comment.


From the side view I can see it has a packing nut. Who ever originally installed the valve should have known to check the packing nut to be sure it was tight. You can probably remove and clean the handle with a wire brush and also tighten the packing nut under the handle. Check the valve in a couple days for moisture. If there is moisture the valve should be replaced. If you should have to replace the valve be sure that if the new one has a packing nut that you tighten it after soldering it in and it has cooled down.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, props for taking our tour before posting; few newbies do. Feb 9, 2020 at 16:13

Dissimilar metals is why its rusting and no the valve itself is fine just replace the handle carefully and. Contrary to one answer yes u can buy just a handle


I would suggest you replace the handle with one that will not corrode. You show it close to the water feed entrance to your domicile, during parts of the year the water coming in is colder than the dew point causing moisture in the air to condense. This in turns causes it to rust. You could clean it and coat it with a rust inhibitor, this is not permanent but will last a while.

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