I just moved the clothes washer out of the way but now I found the faucet that connects to the washer is leaking. I tried to replace the faucet but looks like it is soldered and I cannot find a way just to remove the stem.

Is there a way to fix it without calling the plumber?

Image of leaky spigot

  • From the deposits left by the leak, it may be that all you have to is tighten the bonnet nut. Do this no more than a 8th of a turn at a time. Nov 7, 2015 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


The stem should be able to be removed after unscrewing the part of the faucet as pointed to here:

enter image description here

Remove the red tap handle first. Then use a pair of wrenches, one on the indicated part and the other on the faucet body to loosen and remove the threaded part. The usage of two wrenches is very important because you do not want to stress the soldered pipe the goes off into the wall.

I have found the following type of groove lock pliers to be one of the most effective tools for this type of job. The fine range of adjustability and the jaw shape make the grip to the faucet parts easy. Do note that these tools can cause marks to appear on the faucet parts, especially of soft brass or bronze materials or if the threaded part is really tight.

enter image description here

  • 3
    Don't forget to shut off the water supply first! It is very unlikely that you will be able to replace just the stem. You could repair it though; repack with graphite packing material and install a new bib washer. Nov 7, 2015 at 16:51
  • Thanks! I went ahead and replace the whole thing with ball valve so I don't need to worry about it wear out for long time
    – hj630
    Nov 8, 2015 at 13:30

Rather than repair the valve, the other option is to replace it.

  • Shut the water off to this area.
  • Drain the water from the line.
  • Fill a small bucket with water, or use a small bucket to catch the water that drains out of the pipe.
  • Wear a good pair of leather gloves, and eye protection.
  • Open the valve all the way.
  • Use a torch to carefully heat the solder joint.
  • Using a pair of channel locks; or other pliers, continually check if the fitting is loose.
  • DO NOT touch the fitting, pipe, or anything else that might be hot, with your hand.
  • When the valve comes free, twist and pull it off. Then drop it in the bucket of water, to cool.
  • Wipe away as much of the excess solder with a damp rag, before it cools.

Now you can install a new valve. I recommend a 1/4 turn ball valve, as they tend to last a bit longer.

If there's a bit of solder left on the pipe, preventing the new fitting from going on. You can heat it back up, or use fine grit sandpaper to remove it.

  • Thanks all. I went ahead and bought the solder kit. Turned out its not too hard to sweat and solder. I replaced both valves with new ball valve andsoldered a screw adapter then screw the hose bibs so next next I can just screw it off when I need replacemeny
    – hj630
    Nov 8, 2015 at 13:29

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