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Stuck ball valve

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sawdust1

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Hi, any tips on freeing up a ball valve that is solid as i need to turn off supply to change a tap.
Its on 15mm plastic pipe so can't use heat.
Do i just take off the lever and use brute force with spanner.
I have 6 and they are all stuck, will be changing over to plastic ones.
Thanks.
 

Linus

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Hi, any tips on freeing up a ball valve that is solid as i need to turn off supply to change a tap.
Its on 15mm plastic pipe so can't use heat.
Do i just take off the lever and use brute force with spanner.
I have 6 and they are all stuck, will be changing over to plastic ones.
Thanks.
Can you clarify a little? Is the ball valve solid on or off? Is it in line with the tap you want to change? You also have 6 what, taps or ball valves?
 

Alasdair

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Get a replacement valve and then turn water off and see if you can move it with a spanner. If it breaks or won't move just replace it. Some types only turn one way. 90 degrees on 90 degrees off. If your quick you could use plumbers freeze spray but I would personally turn water off at mains etc if possible.
Alasdair
 

Shadow10003

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Better to turn off at the mains and replace faulty valve the same time as you do your taps
 

Spectric

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Hi, any tips on freeing up a ball valve that is solid as i need to turn off supply to change a tap.

Make sure you have easy access to your mains valve just in case, then hold valve body in a pair of grips without crushing it and then a large flat driver that you can give a good twist on and hope, they normally move but will probably drip thereafter so a repalacement is needed.

Best advice I can give is to not buy the cheap ones that are often on a multibuy special like these Isolating Valve 15mm 2 Pack

These are more expensive but fit and forget, Pegler Isolating Valve 15mm only thing to bear in mind is they are not full bore so if you want full bore then Pegler Tee Ball Valve Blue 15mm and for something with a lever Pegler Ball Valve Blue 15mm

The cheap ones jam and leak which keeps your plumber happy in work but not your bank balance. As for your main water valve if it is a gate valve or older style T valve then change it for a lever valve because they only need to move 90 degrees to shut off which if you have a big leak you will find very usefull, seen many people in this situation where the main valve has not worked and they have an unwanted indoor shower.
 

Richard_C

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Its handy to know where your incoming main stopcock is, and the water company one which can be anywhere between the road and the house. My daughter moved in to a 1930's house recently and as part of mapping things out I found her in house one in the understairs cupboard and the water company one under a tile in the small front garden border. A 'yuk' job was fishing out years of wet leaves and slugs from the deepish hole but at least she can now see it. That gives you 2 chances of turning off the main supply. If you have a header tank or two (may not if you have a modern combi boiler) you need to have a plan for a leak on that side of things if there is no valve to isolate the leaky bit: turn off incoming main or tie ballcock up and then run everything that it feeds, flush the toilets etc to empty the tank as fast as you can.

My house isn't as old, but I'm a bit OCD about such things and stuck to the back of the airing cupboard door is a list of taps etc and which valve, if any, isolates it. We have very hard water. Over the years I've also taken out all the 35 years old gate valves (useless by now, didn't fully close) and replaced with 1/4 turn ball valves. Again bit OCD perhaps but if I turn one ball valve off - perhaps to clean out the inlet filter in the shower mixer head - I turn them all off and back on in the hope that the annual manipulation of my balls will stop them seizing up.

Back to the original question, if its on a hot water supply you could run a tap that it supplies and warm the valve up a bit that way. You might try repeatedly tapping (not thumping) the end of the shaft or the body and see if that disturbs any corrosion and try again to turn it, and as has been said make sure you are going the right way - often there is an arrow moulded or stamped in the handle. Then it's back to handle off brute force as above, have a clear route to your stopcock in case.

(Shouting at things sometimes helps - try as hard as you can, step back and shout as many derogatory names as you can muster, curse the person who installed it, curse the company that made it, curse all living beings, then try again.)
 

MARK.B.

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If you have and can find your outside shut off valve/stopcock ,give it a good dolop of grease to keep it moving freely, nothing worse than a burst pipe and not being able to shut it off. Same goes for the inside one if you have it, these can go for many years without being maintained simply because they are hidden away out of sight and out of mind. that is until you need them in a hurry:)
 

Pedronicus

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Make sure you have easy access to your mains valve just in case, then hold valve body in a pair of grips without crushing it and then a large flat driver that you can give a good twist on and hope, they normally move but will probably drip thereafter so a repalacement is needed.

Best advice I can give is to not buy the cheap ones that are often on a multibuy special like these Isolating Valve 15mm 2 Pack

These are more expensive but fit and forget, Pegler Isolating Valve 15mm only thing to bear in mind is they are not full bore so if you want full bore then Pegler Tee Ball Valve Blue 15mm and for something with a lever Pegler Ball Valve Blue 15mm

The cheap ones jam and leak which keeps your plumber happy in work but not your bank balance. As for your main water valve if it is a gate valve or older style T valve then change it for a lever valve because they only need to move 90 degrees to shut off which if you have a big leak you will find very usefull, seen many people in this situation where the main valve has not worked and they have an unwanted indoor shower.
Agreed, those cheapo ones earnt me good coin during my 40+ years of plumbing. :cool:

Always back off the handle of a stopcock or gate valve by half a turn to prevent the threads locking up.(y)
 

hunter27

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Hi, any tips on freeing up a ball valve that is solid as i need to turn off supply to change a tap.
Its on 15mm plastic pipe so can't use heat.
Do i just take off the lever and use brute force with spanner.
I have 6 and they are all stuck, will be changing over to plastic ones.
Thanks.
As you mention a lever it's not the common screw slot type ballofix valve. if it is just a plastic lever the plastic often deforms around the spindle so take it off and use what you can to turn the valve underneath while supporting the pipe. If it is a metal lever the valve is probably really stuck. I hate these valves and prefer to just have an easily reachable working main stop tap. The service taps can be handy but often don't work or drip after using them so causing more trouble than they are worth.
In a different life we never turned the valves off under older combi boilers because when they age they start leaking as soon as you touch them and when they leaked you were responsible and lot of them were specials that were only available from the manufacturer so had to be ordered.
 

Phil Russell

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Drip / squirt WD40 around the spindle ... if you can get even a little movement at first then so much the better. I have used this several times and it has never failed ... may take a few minutes or more though. Just move spindle back and forth without excessive force and it should free up slowly.
Cheers, Phil
 

sawdust1

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Thanks for the replies.
We are not on mains, water is pumped up to the header tank, from this there are 3 pipes with the 1/4 turn metal lever ball valves all stuck, then further down there a another 3 valves all stuck so the only way to work on the system is to drain out the header tank. They are like the pegler 1/4 turn full bore but have a thin flat metal handle.
Last week we had a flexible tap connector on the hot water to the kitchen sink break and whilst having a hot shower in
in the kitchen units we had to turn everything on and wait until the tank was drained. Yep i should of fitted an isolation
valve to the tap, by then about 6 minutes of hot water filled the kitchen.
Our water is very acid and eats through any metal so we have to use plastic.
I'm now replacing any tap connections and isolating valves that look suspect.
When i have more time i will replace the stuck ball valves with plastic stop puffins.
 

hunter27

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Thanks for the replies.
We are not on mains, water is pumped up to the header tank, from this there are 3 pipes with the 1/4 turn metal lever ball valves all stuck, then further down there a another 3 valves all stuck so the only way to work on the system is to drain out the header tank. They are like the pegler 1/4 turn full bore but have a thin flat metal handle.
Last week we had a flexible tap connector on the hot water to the kitchen sink break and whilst having a hot shower in
in the kitchen units we had to turn everything on and wait until the tank was drained. Yep i should of fitted an isolation
valve to the tap, by then about 6 minutes of hot water filled the kitchen.
Our water is very acid and eats through any metal so we have to use plastic.
I'm now replacing any tap connections and isolating valves that look suspect.
When i have more time i will replace the stuck ball valves with plastic stop puffins.
It's on a tank supply--- Now you tell us :)
If you have access to the inside of the tank use a bung in the outlet connector there quick and saves time and water I used to use them a lot. You could make your own but they are readily available from plumbers merchants.
Warning don't use one in the expansion pipe coming over the top of the tank (like you would in a central heating system). It is not necessary in this case and using it could damage your hot water cylinder..
 

Henniep

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Thanks for the replies.
We are not on mains, water is pumped up to the header tank, from this there are 3 pipes with the 1/4 turn metal lever ball valves all stuck, then further down there a another 3 valves all stuck so the only way to work on the system is to drain out the header tank. They are like the pegler 1/4 turn full bore but have a thin flat metal handle.
Last week we had a flexible tap connector on the hot water to the kitchen sink break and whilst having a hot shower in
in the kitchen units we had to turn everything on and wait until the tank was drained. Yep i should of fitted an isolation
valve to the tap, by then about 6 minutes of hot water filled the kitchen.
Our water is very acid and eats through any metal so we have to use plastic.
I'm now replacing any tap connections and isolating valves that look suspect.
When i have more time i will replace the stuck ball valves with plastic stop puffins.
Methinks you've answered your own question. Drain the tank and replace all the isolation valves.
 
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