Plumbing Tutorial for Water Stop Valve Installation

Written by steve sloane
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Plumbing Tutorial for Water Stop Valve Installation
Water stop valves must be soldered in place. (valve image by Goran Bogicevic from

A water stop valve--or shutoff valve--is placed in a water line to allow or stop water from reaching an appliance. Houses also have main shutoff valves that control the water supply to the entire home. Water stop valves generally have either a lever or circular handle used to control the valve--the lever is usually moved 90 degrees to turn water on or off, while the handle is twisted one way or the other to stop/start the water flow. Always check the diameter of the water pipe to make sure it coincides with the water stop valve.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • New copper pipe
  • Tape measure
  • Tubing cutter
  • Water stop valve
  • 2 straight couplings
  • Emery cloth
  • Lead-free soldering paste (flux)
  • Lead-free solder
  • Small brush
  • Propane torch
  • Rag
  • Water spray bottle

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  1. 1

    Turn off water to the pipe in which you want to install the valve. Make an initial mark on the pipe where you want to install the valve, then mark the pipe 6 inches above and below the initial mark. Cut the pipe at both the top and bottom marks on the pipe: place a tubing cutter around the pipe and tighten the blade so that it rests on the top mark. Rotate the cutter once, before you tighten, then rotate the cutter a second time. Repeat until the pipe is cut through. Do the same with the lower mark on the pipe, in order to cut away a 12-inch section of pipe.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of the water stop valve, subtracting the distance that the pipe goes into on both the top and bottom sides of the valve--usually no more than 3/4 inch on each end. Subtract this amount from 12 inches--the length of pipe that you cut away. For example, if the valve length is 4 inches, subtract 4 from 12 and you get 8 inches. Whatever length you calculate, halve it (in our example you would get 4 inches), and cut two new pieces of pipe with that length. (When you push the two new pieces of pipe into the top and bottom of the valve, the entire length of the valve plus the two new pieces attached to it will be 12 inches, and will fit exactly into the existing copper pipe.)

  3. 3

    Sand the ends of the existing pipes, each end of the two new pieces of pipe, the insides of the two ends of the water stop valve and the insides of two straight couplings, using an emery cloth. Apply lead-free soldering paste (flux) to all sanded areas with a small brush.

  4. 4

    Push the two new pieces of pipe into both ends of the water stop valve, then push the two straight couplings onto the other ends of the new pipes. Attach the valve, new pipes and couplings to the existing pipes. Uncoil 12 inches of solder from its spool, and bend the last 2 inches 90 degrees. Make sure that the valve is in the closed setting.

  5. 5

    Light the propane torch and begin soldering each coupling/valve end from the top coupling and working down: Hold the flame against the coupling, moving the flame from side to side to equally distribute the heat. When you hear the flux sizzle, take the flame away. Touch the tip of the solder to the seam between the coupling and pipe. If it melts, apply 3/4 inch of solder to the seam--capillary action will suck the solder into the seam. Wipe away excess solder with a rag, keep in mind that the coupling will be hot.

  6. 6

    Wait for all the couplings to cool before turning on the water. Open the valve to let water flow through the pipe.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep a water spray bottle handy for emergencies.
  • When using a propane torch, be aware of any flammable objects close to the flame.

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