How to fix 1/2" washing machine shutoff valve leaking at the handle?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by JasonM, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. JasonM

    JasonM Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Location:
    California
    I have a leak or water dropping from the 1/2" washing machine shutoff valve as the photo shows below.

    Is this fixable by opening packing nut and replacing the washer or rubber packing or should I replace the whole shutoff valve?

    20201120_121153a.jpg

    Thank you very much.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Either.

    To fix the leak at the stem, you could try just tightening the packing nut a bit.

    If you want to go farther, I would turn off the valve. Pull the handle. Pull the packing nut, at least partially. Wrap a few turns of packing cord clockwise around the stem, and put the packing nut back. Restore the handle.

    I used white PTFE, but others prefer black graphite-containing cord. They are both good.
     
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Or, you could consider replacing those valves with 1/4-turn ball valves, or one of the WM specific shutoffs that would turn both off with one lever. You might consider adding some water hammer arrestors which could make the hoses last longer, too since they wouldn't be trying to absorb the pressure spike when the WM turns the water off.
     
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  5. JasonM

    JasonM Member

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    Location:
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    Thank you Reach4 and jadnashua very much for the comments.

    After reading your suggestions, first, I tried tightening the packing nut with the wrench, and I could turn the packing nut around 1/2" to 3/4" inch. And it stopped the water dropping. I am so surprised that the packing nut was loose. I just assumed that there was no problem with packing nut tightening. As jadnashua mentioned, I think the water stopping impact loosened the packing nut over 2 decades, and it caused the leaking.

    Reach4, I thank you very much for suggesting Faucet Packing Cord PTFE and the black graphite-containing cord. I will keep that in mind for the future.

    jadnashua, I thank you very much for suggesting the water hammer arrestors. I heard it before vaguely but never thought of using in this kind of situation. Since I had this problem, I will consider adding it to this shut-off value. The quick internet search suggests putting this on to the dishwasher water line, toilets, and clothes washer, but I never saw this installed. Are there really WM specific shutoffs that would turn both off with one lever? My machine is whirlpool estate brand, almost 30 years, and just for my edification, could you point a link to this?

    Thank you very much.
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I would expect the packing deteriorated through wear or compression set.
     
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  7. JasonM

    JasonM Member

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    Sep 7, 2014
    Location:
    California
    Thank you Reach4 very much for the further comment.

    Later on, if it starts leaking again, would your suggestion below will help?
    Thank you very much.
     
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I would think so. Worked for me.
     
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  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
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    New England
    Here's one, there are others, no comment on how good this one is, but the company is decent. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Watts-1...-Washing-Machine-Shutoff-Valve-175C/205893456

    I put my hammer arrestors on the WM, and connected the hoses to them. They work best when they are closest to the valve that is shutting the water off, and during operation, that's in the WM, not at the supply valve (normally, the water is not flowing when you shut that off, so no hammer occurs).

    Over time, the packing literally gets worn. You need to replace it when you cannot tighten the nut any more to compress it around the shaft. You also don't want to tighten it too much so you cannot turn the knob. Tightening the nut wedges it tighter to the handle's shaft.
     
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  10. JasonM

    JasonM Member

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    Thank you Reach4 and jadnashua for the valuable tips.

    Reach4, I will try your suggestion next time it leaks before replacing the whole shutoff valve.

    jadnashua, I will keep that single lever in mind for the future when I have to install new shutoff. Do you think the water arrestor will help prevent the loosening the packing nut problem and help extend the shutoff valve lifespan and others? You mentioned that
    I noticed that the water arrestor is not inexpensive, and I think the hose price is lower than the arrestor unless it does more than making the hose last longer. Am I misunderstanding something here?

    Thank you.
     
  11. MASTERPLUMB777

    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

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    Yes but if the Hose fells while nobody is home and floods the house which is CHEAPER !, By the way I have seen this happen before
     
  12. JasonM

    JasonM Member

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    Thank you MASTERPLUMB777 very much for the valuable comment.
    If that happens, yes, the water arrestor is very very cheap.
    BTW, do you know the lifespan of that hose? My hose is about 28 years old. Is it time to replace it?

    Thank you.
     
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  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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  14. JerryR

    JerryR Active Member

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    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    Florida
    Water damage scares me.

    We have single handle washer shut off valve at main home and 1/4 turn washer ball valves at cabin.. They are only turned on when using the washing machine. We also have water leak sensors behind and under washers and under every sink.

    When leaving either house overnight we turn off water main shut off to house We turn off city water input at main house and throw well pump breakers at cabin. The main house ball valve is easily turned off and on with my foot. No bending down required.

    We have a written check list that we use before leaving when traveling between homes. The checklist is from years of being a pilot.


    [​IMG]
     
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  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Personally, if I had WM hoses 26-years old, I'd be looking at replacing them!

    If you can see the hoses jump when the WM shuts the water off, arrestors will help minimize or stop that. The higher your water pressure, the more they'll mover.
     
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  16. JasonM

    JasonM Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Location:
    California
    Thank you Reach4 very much for the comment.
    I did not know such product exists. I will take a look.

    Thank you JerryR very much for the comment.
    Water damage scares me too. I have 8 water leak detectors under each toilet tanks and sink faucets and in the kitchen. The 9 volts battery for 8 detector cost quite a bit.

    I hope your water main shutoff is not outside your house visible from the street because it can be a sign to some bad people that you are not home.
    I wanted install another water main shutoff inside the garage invisible to outside, but I have not been able to do that myself. I am thinking of doing it using the sharkbite brand, if it is a good option, and if I can do it myself.

    Thank you jadnashua very much for the comment.
    I will check if the hose looks fine or not and replace it if it feels bad. And I will watch next time to see if the hose jumps when the water shuts off.

    Thank you all of you. I am learning a lot.
     
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  17. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    Mar 5, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    I purchased this RCA washing machine cutoff that works really well, and even notifies me by phone if there's a leak.

    https://www.amazon.com/Automatic-Detector-Shut-Off-Stopping-Detection/dp/B0742N3KHF/

    It cost 150 bucks, but if there's water in the pan or on the floor, it closes the valves. I also like the ones that turn off the water when the machine isn't drawing power, but I think this was the cheapest one, and would also notify me of drain leaks. 150 isn't super cheap, but if it works it could prevent 10,000 or more in damage easily.
     
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  18. JasonM

    JasonM Member

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    Sep 7, 2014
    Location:
    California
    Thank you DIYorBust very much for introducing a product.

    More than several years ago, I read on a website that someone installed whole house main water automatic shut off with the water sensors in every faucet/toilet locations in the house, wirelessly triggering the main shutoff valve. I think it was around a couple of thousands or so,if I remember correctly. I thought it was neat.
     
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