Published on May 7th, 2013 | by Henri


Stop valves leak after water line turned off

Q.    I have two related problems.

  1. The stop valve for hot water under the kitchen sink leaks and it does not stop even if I turn off the main line that brings water to the house! I found this out when I tried to replace the stop valve earlier today (and was not able to do so!). What is going on? And what do I need to do so that I can replace the stop valve?
  2. The water line to our refrigerator is taken from the cold water line under the kitchen sink and goes to the back of the fridge. When I shut off that stop valve under the sink the water flow to the refrigerator does not stop completely — it drips at a very low rate instead of flowing in full force — even if I shut off the main water line to the house! Again, what is going on and what should I do to put a full stop to water flow into the refrigerator?

A.    Shutting off the main water valve to the house does not completely stop the water flow because there is water in the pipes above the valves you are working on. To replace any stop valve, you have to drain the system at least to a level below the valve you plan to work on.

The simplest way to do this is to shut off the main water entrance valve and flush a toilet on the same or lower floor as the one you are working on — any water in the lines above the one you are working on will drain back into the toilet.

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