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Leaking Shut Off Valve? Here's What to Do

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September 22, 2023

Shut off valves can control the flow of water in the event of a plumbing repair or renovation—you can turn your primary shut off valve that controls water to your whole house or a localized shut off valve for a fixture like a sink or a toilet. But when your shut off valve starts leaking, that means you have no way to completely shut off the water. Keep reading to learn more about why shut off valves can start to leak, what you can do about it, and how 1-800-Plumber +Air can help in various cases, even emergencies.

Why Do Shut Off Valves Leak?

shut off valves shouldn't leak. Their job is to create a water-tight seal that completely stops the flow of water so you can make repairs, replace plumbing fixtures, or deal with a plumbing issue without worrying about water damage. But leaking shut off valves can develop if they aren't properly tightened or if there's a crack somewhere around the valve. Because the water pressure can be high around a shut off valve, either because of the force of the water or the very small opening allowing water to move, you can see leaks that are anything from a drip to a sharp spray of water.

Common Water Shut Off Valve Issues

A shut off valve can develop many different issues over time, and knowing how to fix leaky shut off valves or minimize the damage quickly is essential. Some of the most common issues are:


Ranging from a dripping stem valve to water beading up along the seams, a water valve leaking can be a common problem. If the shut off valve is a new installation, it may just need to be tightened. If the valve is old, it may have brittle o-rings, a broken seal, or small cracks developing out of sight.


Over time, unused shut off valves can get stuck in place. This is especially common in regions with hard water, as the mineral deposits can build up in the crevices. Using a careful combination of chemicals and force can loosen it, but there's a risk of breaking the valve or pipe if you're not careful.

Bursting Pipes

When the damage to a shut off valve is severe, it can lead to bursting pipes. For example, a small leaky crack will expand over time to a wider crack or break off entirely. If you try to loosen a stuck valve with a bit too much force, it can splinter the pipe. Even freezing temperatures can break shut off valves, as ice can build up around the parts. If you have a burst pipe, go to the next upstream shut off valve. For example, you can turn off the main shut off if a localized one is broken, or you can turn off your water from the street if it's the main water valve leaking.

Old Fixtures

Shut off valves aren't built to last forever, and neither are most plumbing fixtures. Eventually, something in your house will develop a leak, and you'll need to have a functional shut off valve to turn to. Knowing where they're located (and regularly testing them to make sure they still work) can help you stay ready in a plumbing emergency.

When to Call a Plumber

Any time you notice a small drip or your water shutoff valve leaking, it's best to call a plumber like ones at 1-800-Plumber + Air. Calling a plumber is necessary in various situations to prevent further damage and ensure the proper functioning of your plumbing system. Call 1-800-Plumber +Air if you see or hear a leak, notice a crack, or can't engage your shut off valves, as they have the expertise, experience, and tools to address the problem effectively and prevent further complications.

Contact the Experts: Call 1-800-Plumber +Air for a Leaking Shut Off Valve

Whether you want a servicing appointment for proactive maintenance or you need a plumber to handle an emergency leak, we can help. Call 1-800-Plumber +Air to schedule an appointment and get free upfront pricing for any plumbing service.

IMG Credit: Woodpond