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Since the shutoff valve is leaking (the packing inside is worn), I'd like to replace it. Is the valve soldered onto the supply pipe, or is it a threaded connection?

Photo of the shutoff valve

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    have you considered just replacing the washer and the stem packing? – mikes Nov 23 '14 at 11:38
  • If that's steel pipe, the valve is almost certainly threaded. If copper, soldered; that doesn't look like a swage fitting. – Wayfaring Stranger Nov 23 '14 at 12:21
  • I ended up following BrianK's advice [ diy.stackexchange.com/a/53352/19128 ] where I bought a replacement kit for the valve. – wsw Dec 7 '14 at 18:21
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That looks like a 1/2" copper pipe with the valve soldered on. Definitely check it with a magnet before trying to wrench it off.

If it is copper and you are not handy with soldering, you could replace it fairly easily using a valve with a compression fitting inlet:

enter image description here

You will have to carefully cut the pipe behind the existing valve, and use steel wool and/or some emery cloth to clean up that oxidation/corrosion on the copper pipe.

My personal preference is to solder a threaded male adapter onto the pipe and using a new threaded supply valve with 1/2" FIP inlet:

enter image description here enter image description here

  • You are right -- the supply pipe is copper per the magnet test. I think I will go with the compression-fitting route, since I am uncomfortable soldering in a very confined space. Compression fittings are picky as I have worked with Swagelok [ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swagelok ] before. – wsw Nov 23 '14 at 19:20
  • In case I cannot get the compression fittings to work, I bought a quick-connect cap (for 1/2" NPT) from Amazon: amazon.com/gp/product/B000BQSXNO to shut off the water. – wsw Nov 23 '14 at 19:21
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    Personally I do not think compression fittings are the best bet in the presence of so much solder. Also be aware that for copper the compression fittings are really made for soft copper flexible line. Rigid copper lines are meant almost exclusively to be soldered - but not like apparent mess under your toilet water tank. – Michael Karas Nov 23 '14 at 23:53
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You can try a magnet to the pipe to see of it is an iron or steel pipe. The magnet will be readily attracted to the iron pipe. Copper will not be attracted by the magnet. From the looks of it in the picture I would say that it is a galvanized iron pipe.

An iron pipe will have a threaded connection to the valve. To properly remove the valve from the pipe extension you are going to want to use two tools, one to keep the pipe extension out of the wall from turning and the other to turn the valve. An appropriate tool for keeping the pipe from turning will look like one of these:

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The tool to turn the valve assembly could be one of these:

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The reason it is so important to keep the pipe extension from turning is so that you do not loosen the threaded connection in the wall which could lead to a leak there.

When you have the valve off it would be a good opportunity to replace the very rusty escutcheon plate that is against the wall.

  • Thanks for reminding me to grab onto the iron pipe with a pipe wrench if I want to loosen the treaded connection. Unfortunately I think the supply pipe is copper per the magnet test. – wsw Nov 23 '14 at 19:15
  • The pipe appears to be copper, very liberally coated (buttered?) with a totally unnecessary amount of solder! – DJohnM Nov 23 '14 at 19:21
  • Michael: you also made a good point about replacing the escutcheon plate! – wsw Nov 23 '14 at 19:28
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That looks like a Brasscraft valve. I bought a repair kit at Home Depot (Lowess didn't have it) for a few bucks. Pretty easy to install and that fixed it. Here's a link to a Dano (aftermarket) repair kit: http://www.amazon.com/Danco-88001-Repair-Brasscraft-Stops/dp/B000HE6OPE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1416804275&sr=8-3&keywords=brasscraft+stop+valve+repair+kit

  • Brian: thanks for the idea! I ordered the kit to try it out. When I tried to buy replacement washers and packing at Lowes, they discouraged me from doing so. – wsw Nov 24 '14 at 14:41
  • Did you try just tightening the nut that hold the stem in to see if that would seal the packing? When you replace the parts from the kit, don't overtighten the nut. Go just enough so that the valve still turns with just a little resistance. – BrianK Nov 24 '14 at 18:36
  • Brian: yes I have, but it did not help. Also, when I disassembled the valve, I noticed that the washers and packing were quite beat up. I bought the house a few months ago but I think the previous owner did not replace the valve for 20 years. – wsw Nov 24 '14 at 18:54

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