How to Loosen a Stuck Water Turn-Off Valve

Written by kenneth crawford
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How to Loosen a Stuck Water Turn-Off Valve
Loosen a stuck turn-off valve and finish your project. (valve image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Most faucets and toilets in your home have a water turn-off valve. This valve connects the house water line to the supply line of the faucet or toilet. When repairs are necessary, the turn-off valve cuts off the supply of water. However, if you have not used the turn-off valve in a long time, sediment and mineral deposits build up on the handle stem. Loosening a stuck water turn-off valve so you can work on your faucets requires loosening the nut securing the stem.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Small container
  • Adjustable wrench

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  1. 1

    Place a small container under the handle area of the stuck turn-off valve.

  2. 2

    Adjust the jaws of an adjustable wrench around the packing nut of the turn-off valve. The packing nut is the nut between the body of the turn-off valve and the handle.

  3. 3

    Turn the packing nut counterclockwise slightly while turning the valve handle clockwise. Turning the handle clockwise shuts off the water to the faucet or toilet.

  4. 4

    Rotate the packing nut clockwise. Turn to retighten it to the turn-off valve body. Check the packing nut over the next couple of days to ensure there are no leaks. If a leak is present, turn the packing nut clockwise another turn.

Tips and warnings

  • Once you turn the handle initially, the sediment and mineral deposits usually release, allowing you to turn the handle freely. It is a good idea to turn your turn-off valve handles once a month to prevent them from getting stuck.

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