While prepping to install a new kitchen faucet, I went to shut off the water supply to the house since there were no valves under the sink. I mistakenly chose to turn the city-side (gate valve) supply off instead of the home-side (ball valve). When I started turning, water began leaking from the stem. Doing a quick google of this let me know that I needed to tighten the packing nut. Never having done this before, I started tightening the wrong thing, which caused THAT to start leaking as well.

This 'wrong thing' is a second opening at the bottom of the valve. It's supposed to be closed off with a cap that just screws onto the thread. Tightening it caused it to leak. At this point I called a plumber and he said I could take care of this myself and told me the packing nut was my problem and how to tighten it. He called this other thing at the bottom a petcock. After getting off the phone, I followed his instructions and was able to get the valve stem to stop leaking and get the water turned off.

The 'petcock' is still leaking even with the valve closed all the way. If I try opening the home-side valve, water jets out of the petcock. The same thing happens if I try opening the city-side valve that I successfully got closed. I tried tightening the petcock cap more and ended up breaking it. It wasn't doing anything to stop water leaking anyway.

What the hell is going on here? It looks like I'm going to have to deal with this small leak until the morning when I can call a plumber. The city will likely have to come shut the water off as well.

Can anyone help me out with this in the meantime?

  • you will need to call the city to replace it
    – user116961
    May 8, 2020 at 2:19

1 Answer 1


I think what is leaking is the drain. Does it look like the object sticking out to the side in the below picture? If so, this is used to drain water from the house side of the supply when the valve is off.

It sounds like you over tightened it in the first place which started the leaking. If you've broken only the cap, you might be able to find a replacement. If the stem and threads are damaged, long-term you will need to replace the entire valve. As a short-term fix, you just need to block it some how. Marine epoxy is handy for emergency plumbing repairs.

  • I was at a Lowe's yesterday, and they sold the drain caps individually.
    – Edwin
    Mar 10, 2013 at 3:47
  • The valve looks different but that drain on that thing is exactly what the plumber called the petcock. By the time I posted this everything was closed except walmart. While waiting for responses I went and bought a tube of JB WaterWeld. I'm going to try and fix the cap before messing with the drain itself. I agree that I probably need to have the valve replaced.
    – Ronathan
    Mar 10, 2013 at 3:51
  • Why do you have a large picture of "the home depot" in your post? It looks like spam
    – Ferrybig
    Dec 7, 2017 at 7:28
  • @Ferrybig this is what happens when they remove the image. I will edit it out.
    – Steven
    Dec 7, 2017 at 14:42

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