How to Repair a Valve Stem Packing

Written by kim sarah
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How to Repair a Valve Stem Packing
Worn graphite packing is commonly the reason for a leaking faucet fixture. (valve image by askthegeek from

You'll know it's time to repair your faucet's valve stem when the faucet begins to leak. This graphite portion of a faucet is a sturdy piece that won't necessarily need to be replaced. However, the material around, known as the stem packing, can become worn. This is typically what requires repair on the valve stem. You don't have to call a plumber for this job and, according to the Natural Handyman, it can be done in about an hour -- for less than £32.

Skill level:

Things you need

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

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  1. 1

    Shut off the main water supply to the building. Turn the water shut-off valve clockwise to turn it off.

  2. 2

    Open the valve that you are working on all the way. Turn the valve as far counterclockwise as it will go.

  3. 3

    Release the valve from the spout of the faucet by loosening the nut on the body of the faucet. Hold the body of the faucet with a pipe wrench while turning the nut counterclockwise. Pull the valve away from the faucet.

  4. 4

    Take off the handle of the faucet. Turn the retainer nut on the handle counterclockwise with a socket wrench. Pull the handle from the faucet.

  5. 5

    Remove the packing nut from the faucet. Turn the nut counterclockwise by inserting a flathead screwdriver in the nut's slot and turning it left.

  6. 6

    Remove the old packing string from around the threading of the faucet. Pull the graphite string off with your hand.

  7. 7

    Wrap new graphite packing string around the faucet tightly. The replacement string should be the same width as the string that was just removed.

  8. 8

    Reinstall the packing nut on the faucet. Turn the nut clockwise until it is firmly in place.

  9. 9

    Reinstall the handle of the faucet. Turn it clockwise with a socket wrench until it will not turn anymore.

  10. 10

    Replace the valve assembly to its original location. Hold the body of the faucet with a pipe wrench, while turning the nut of the assembly clockwise until it is firmly in place.

  11. 11

    Turn the water back on at the main water valve of the house.

  12. 12

    Examine the valve that you repaired for any leaks. If you spot a leak, tighten the connection.

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