How to Repack a Shutoff Valve

Written by toby tate
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How to Repack a Shutoff Valve
Repacking a shutoff valve may be necessary if the valve starts to leak around the stem. (valve 2 image by askthegeek from

Shutoff valves tend to leak periodically around the valve stem, where the packing seals the stem. It's a good idea to know how to repack a shutoff valve if this ever occurs. The packing itself is usually a string of graphite that can be purchased at a hardware store. The graphite is held in place by a packing washer, which is pushed downward by turning the packing nut. This expands the packing and creates a seal around the valve stem, preventing water from leaking through.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Graphite packing
  • Pipe wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Socket wrench

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  1. 1

    Shut off the valve controlling the water supply to the valve that you will be repacking. This is usually located in the crawl space under your home.

  2. 2

    Turn the valve you are repacking counterclockwise until it no longer turns.

  3. 3

    Place a pipe wrench on the valve body and put an adjustable wrench between the spout and the packing nut, then turn the adjustable wrench counterclockwise until the valve body is loose.

  4. 4

    Remove the valve assembly.

  5. 5

    Remove the valve wheel by turning the retainer nut counterclockwise with a socket wrench.

  1. 1

    Unscrew and remove the packing nut by turning it counterclockwise.

  2. 2

    Pry the old packing out with a flat-tipped screwdriver and replace it with the same sized packing by winding the new packing around the valve stem and pushing it down.

  3. 3

    Replace the valve wheel with the socket wrench.

  4. 4

    Hold the valve body in place with the pipe wrench while turning clockwise with the adjustable wrench to replace the valve assembly.

  5. 5

    Test the valve for leaks and tighten the packing nut until no leaks are apparent.

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