White Ceramic Toilet Bowl

How to Fix a Leaking Toilet Shut-Off Valve

A leaking toilet can be a massive strain. The mess is unsanitary, and a severe leak can lead to costly water damage. The culprit could be your toilet shut-off valve.

This mechanism controls the water flow into the toilet. And like anything else, wear and tear, age, corrosion, and other issues can cause it to lose efficacy. The result can be a leak that threatens to grow out of control.

If your toilet shut-off valve is leaking, we can help. Use this guide to deal with the issue before the leak gets out of hand. Most of the time, you can fix the issue yourself in just five simple steps.

1. Adjust the Valve

Before doing anything, grab a bucket or other container and place it underneath the leaking valve. It will catch the leaking water and reduce the cleanup you’ll have to do after repairs.

Once you’ve set up the tub, use an adjustable wrench and turn the packing nut on top of the leaky valve. Use light pressure, turn the wrench counter-clockwise, about ⅛ or ¼ at a time and tighten.

It’s possible that merely tightening the packing nut will stop the leaking altogether. The piece may have simply become loose over time.

If tightening the nut doesn’t work, don’t fret. You can move on to the next step.

Pro Tip: Use masking tape or cloth and wrap the pliers. The material will protect the plier’s jaws so that you don’t strip the nut.

2. Turn Off the Water to the Toilet

The next step is to take the shut-off valve apart, but before you do, cut off the water supply to the toilet. It will prevent costly water damage to your bathroom when disassembling the different pieces.

White Water Pipes

Once you’ve turned off the water supply, go ahead and detach and drain the pipes connected to the leaky valve. The plastic tub underneath should catch the water leaking when you detach the pipes.

3. Remove and Clean Valve Components

Rust, gunk, hair, and other debris can work their way into the valve and slowly loosen it, creating a leak. Corrosion from rust is a common problem in bathrooms and can wear down the metal parts. Any nicks or dents in the chrome plating can expose the metal to moisture and oxygen, eventually leading to rust. Cleaning the valve components may be all you need to do to restore the piece to working order.

Start by taking the shut-off valve and taking out the screw that is on its handle. Once the screw is gone, untwist the packing nut and remove the valve’s threaded system.

Pro Tip: Take a picture of the neoprene washers, so you can remember the order of the handle, packing nut, threaded valve stem, and neoprene rings for reassembling.

You can clean the neoprene washers with a cloth. Try to remove any mineral deposits visible to the naked eye.

After scrubbing everything thoroughly, gently press the neoprene rings to see if they are flexible once more.

4. Reassemble the Valve

The next step is to reassemble the valve. Be sure to reassemble the components in the same order as when you took the valve apart.

Once you have attached the valve, tighten the packing nut using the same procedure outlined in step one.

5. Test the Repair

After you have re-attached the valve, turn the water supply to the toilet back on and observe to see if leaks continue.

If the valve is still leaking, you may need to replace it altogether. Still, there is a good chance that the steps above will have taken care of the issue and stopped the leaking.

It’s a good idea to test your valves routinely, even when there isn’t a leak. Being proactive is the best way to prepare for a plumbing emergency and prevent costly water damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is the Shut-off Valve on My Toilet Leaking?

There are a fair number of different potential causes for a leaky valve. Some of them include the bolts or the packing nut loosening, metal parts corroding, a misalignment of the pipes and the valve or perhaps the wax ring becoming old and not sealing correctly. Oftentimes all it takes to fix the valve is a tightening of the bolts or nut.

If a simple tightening, cleaning, and repair don’t do the trick, call the professionals.

Some Jobs Are Better Left to the Pros — Give Us a Call!

The average homeowner can clean a leaky shut-off valve in a few simple steps. But it’s best to call in the pros for the more difficult leaks.

At All Dry USA, we are proud to be your neighborhood expert in plumbing repair, mold remediation, water damage restoration, and more. Call today to see how we can help you restore your bathroom to its beautiful, pristine condition.

Ben Suiskind
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