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I noticed both hot and cold water inlets to my washing machine were leaking in small amounts. Turning the valves off stopped the dripping. Of course, I wanted to replace the valves. I would possibly replace the cold water side myself, and have the more-coroded hot water side done by a pro.

I'm having a terrible time trying to get the cold water valve off, and I'm afraid of damaging the copper pipe. Also, as snug as I secured the wrench on the valve-end, I've chewed some of it up. enter image description here

I'm trying to turn what I think is the end of the valve (the red arrow). There is NO nut (hex shape) anywhere on the other side of the threads (to the right of the red arrow) to hold on to with another wrench. I've sprayed rust penetrant on the valve end and threads several times, allowing some time on each application, but no luck. (I know it's counter-clockwise.)

So the questions are:

  1. Am I turning in the right spot?
  2. If 1 is yes, any ideas how to loosen the valve without damaging the pipe? (I'm really hoping to avoid using a torch, as there's a wall very close.)
  3. Although I'm pretty sure I make no contact with the 'thing' in the blue box. It's now dripping when the water is turned back on. What is it? The T-handle at the top won't budge by hand. The plastic tube coming off of it runs to the washer drain. Looks as though the other end of the T-handle might go into the pipe, though that's a guess as I did not loosen the clamp around the pipe. (I thought that maybe this was a pressure relief mechanism, but why have it on the cold side and not on the hot side?)

Thanks for any help.

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  • That may be a valve with packing. The HEX part at the handle side is where it would be. Try tightening it about a 16th of a turn and see if that helps. If several attempts do not work or you cannot turn it, remove it and replace the (probably graphite packing) around the valve stem. Mine look a bit different and I did not have to turn off the water but please do so you can stay dry if I am mistooken.
    – Gil
    May 31, 2023 at 21:33
  • For plumbing, you need to use two wrenches, one to loosen and one to hold the pipe/fitting.
    – crip659
    May 31, 2023 at 21:54
  • If you just want to stop the leak, then unscrew the nut near the circular handle. It probably has a rubber valve which needs to be replaced periodically. Jun 1, 2023 at 0:24
  • @rohit: I probably would have started there if the leak had just been at the valve handle. Thanks.
    – Roger D
    Jun 1, 2023 at 14:32

1 Answer 1

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The thing in the blue box is a "saddle tap", a tap into the water line to get water to something else. It probably went to an icemaker and now is abandoned.

You CANNOT turn the valve with the flats at the red arrow. There is nothing to take apart there. The valve is soldered over the copper line.

To get it off you need to get a torch and melt the solder.

At this point if you are calling a pro to do the hot water valve, have him do both and get rid of the useless saddle tap.

If you decide to move ahead, you can take off the handle and remove the cap nut, (at the yellow arrow). Water to the valve should be off of course.

With the cap nut off you can unthread the stem from the valve body. You will see a rubber washer at the end. Remove the screw holding it on and replace the washer. There is a good chance the screw is corroded and great work and creative language will occur. You could then take the entire stem to the hardware store and get a new one with a washer. You also need to get stem packing and remove all the hardened old packing from inside the old cap nut. That will be no fun and more coarse language may ensue. if you get that far repack the cap nut with the string like packing. Not too much, not too little...and reinstall everything.

OR.......call that pro and have your choice of beverage while he works.

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  • Thanks for the quick answer. I think this is correct. Are the threads (to the right of the red arrow) part of the valve? Is that the heating area to de-solder the joint? Having an awesome time browsing the warehouse stores looking for that valve. Do you think I need to solder an adapter (sweat to MPT) to use a commonly available valve? Then, there's the leaky "saddle tap," which I kinda recalled seeing one once after you mentioned the ice maker. Maybe just move to a house with newer plumbing?
    – Roger D
    Jun 1, 2023 at 0:07
  • @RogerD, Yes apply heat to the threads to de-solder from the pipe. Before you decide to sweat on a fitting, you may want to consider cutting the pipe just after the solder clamp and using a Sharkbite 1/4 turn valve. No heat needed.
    – RMDman
    Jun 1, 2023 at 1:45
  • Thanks @rmdman.
    – Roger D
    Jun 1, 2023 at 14:33

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