My cold water valve is frozen open, water is leaking from the spout and the building won't turn off my tier for 2 weeks.

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    If you want to be famous, sure! youtu.be/OP30okjpCko
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jul 27, 2021 at 19:20
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    Can be done, but probably take most of the two weeks. Every time you just get the cartridge in, the pressure will make it fly somewhere.
    – crip659
    Jul 27, 2021 at 19:27
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    @DarrelHoffman Why is that unacceptable? Imagine being a tenant in a building which decides to turn off water at the drop of a dime; in this case a leaky tub faucet. I'm sure people appreciate receiving a lead-time for a timeframe when basic utilities will be unavailable. If I cannot shower, poop, or do the dishes during a specific timeframe then I'd like to be warned with sufficient time! It's also quite possible that the building would like to fix many leaky faucets during this time so a 4-hour block in one day is more acceptable than several 1-hours blocks throughout the week.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jul 28, 2021 at 13:57
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    @MonkeyZeus Shouldn't there be a way to shut the water off on a per-apartment basis rather than the whole building? One person needing plumbing maintenance shouldn't require affecting anyone else's water... Jul 28, 2021 at 14:17
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    @DarrelHoffman To put it bluntly, you must be new here. Perfect Apartments located on Perfect Lane in Perfect City, U.S.A. are sadly one block over from where OP lives.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jul 28, 2021 at 14:35

4 Answers 4


If you had an old faucet with just a valve stem and flat washer, possibly. You could open the old valve and the new valve stem and remove the old one. The water would gush out but when you inserted the new, open valve stem, water would be diverted to the spout and you could probably get it done.

On the newer faucets with cartridges, the cartridge needs to be fully seated to work and they have a number of "o" rings and seals that would be dislodged by the water gushing out. Plus, once they're seated, they have to be secured by a nut or lock ring which wouldn't be easy to do while holding the cartridge in place.

Try to carefully free up your cold water shutoff with some vinegar or lime-a-way.

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    I agree with this answer, but it really depends on the design. For some valves, the cartridge is self contained, but for something like a "Delta" style valve, there is a spring and a washer that stay in the faucet and the cartridge sits on top of that. Keeping the spring and washer in place while water is spraying out would be impossible.
    – JPhi1618
    Jul 27, 2021 at 19:53

There are pipe freezing kits available that ought to stop the water for a while. (Never tried it myself though.)

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    I recently learned about pipe freezing used in commercial/industrial settings, but are there really kits/systems that can be used at home? Any links or any more information about it?
    – JPhi1618
    Jul 27, 2021 at 21:18
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    Redily available diy kits, with freezing gas and wraps for round the pipe. Worthwhile, Ive used it occasionally. Also worthwhile would be getting a stop cock installed where the water comes into your home, for the next emergency.
    – Tim
    Jul 28, 2021 at 8:37
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    The likelihood of this working on running water is pretty much non-existent unfortunately.
    – Moo
    Jul 28, 2021 at 9:15

I did, few times, mount some plumbing elements under pressure. And never failed (other than getting wet myself).

But I always did have the main valve accessible in a timeframe not alowing a damaging flood.

The tricky part is aligning the threaded pieces right while fighting the water pressure at the same time.

Opening nearby faucets to lower the water pressure sometimes helps a lot and sometimes not much.


IF you can convince and synchronize all of your lateral and downstairs neighbors to turn on all of their faucets and tubs (both hot and cold) at the same time for 30 minutes then the water pressure has the potential to get low enough for you to be successful. If you live on the lowest level then this will not work.

Just make sure to open your taps as well to verify that the water pressure is low enough to perform the work.

This of course assumes you know exactly what you are doing and are able to complete the job within the anticipated timeframe.

Realistically, just wait for the water to be shut off.

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