I was going to replace my bathroom sink but realized that the water supply line shut-off valve was stuck and could not be closed. I am concerned that turning it off forcefully might break the pipes.

Is there any tip for loosening it up? As the last resort, I could shut off the main valve and replace the whole water supply line but before doing that, I am wondering if there is any easy solution.

1 Answer 1


This answer may be inaccurate because I assume you have the most common type of shutoff valve, which is a seat and washer type (v. gate valve or ball valve) and an oval handle (called, I think, a wrench pad).

First, shut off the main valve, so if you do break a pipe you won't flood.

Try turning the handle with a wrench while maintaining a counter-rotating force on the valve body with another wrench. This usually works for me, although the valve remains stiff and sometimes I need two wrenches to close it again.

If that doesn't work, try removing the compression nut. Here also you want two wrenches, a proper size crescent wrench for the nut and a pipe wrench for the valve body. As the nut starts to move, turn the handle with it and remove the handle, stem, and nut together. Once you have them out you can separate them without stressing your pipes. You will probably find that the packing has stuck to the stem.

common shut off valve

Of course if you do break the valve or any pipes then you will have to replace them but at least you tried the easy methods first.

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