If you’re a homeowner that’s likes to make their own plumbing repairs and need to replace faucet water shut offs this is the place to start. Usually my plumbing customers are trying to replace a faucet when they realize their shut offs don’t work or aren’t there. And often I’m asked to replace a self-piercing saddle valve for a furnace whole house humidifier. I’ll try to hit every relevant point.
The proper plumbing term for water shut offs is either angle stop or straight stop. To keep things simple I’ll use the term angle stop for both when discussing the topic. Angle stops are used when the fixture water supply pipe comes out of the wall. A straight stop is used when the fixture water supply pipe comes out of the floor. My favorite brand is Brasscraft quarter turn compression style angle stops.
Quarter Turn Water Shut Offs
Quarter turn is a plumbing term to describe water shut offs that are turned 90 degrees on and 90 degrees off. It’s usually being used to describe a ball valve style shut off.. Why should you care? Because quarter turn angle stops & straight stops are the only kind you want. They’re all I install. The reason is quality & ease of use. The old multi turn style angle stops are just plastic screws with a piece of rubber at the end. The rubber breaks down causing a valve that won’t shut off completely and rubber pieces clogging a faucet.
Things You’ll Need For This
Before beginning any job be sure to have the proper tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need to do this job
- 2 pair of pliers. Long handle pliers with teeth are best. Leave the crescent wrenches in your tool box.
- All the valves you intend to install.
- Teflon paste thread compound.
- Teflon tape (Only for threaded angle stops)
Get To The Point
OK. You didn’t come to this plumbing blog to go to school so I’ll get to it. This is how you replace water shut offs. But first, for clarity, I have to explain that there are a few ways to attach an angle stop to a pipe.
- Compression style (most common)
- Quick connect (easiest but pricier)
- Threaded (old style pain the a__)
- Soldered (overkill)
- Crimped fitting (PEX)
- Wirsbo (if you don’t know then just don’t)
Compression Angle Stops
To install a compression style angle stop you:
- Turn off the water to your house.
- Cut your 1/2″ copper tubing cleanly & preferably at least a few inches outside the wall.
- If you’re replacing your compression style angle stops you can skip steps 2 through 6.
- Slide an escutcheon over the pipe to cover the gap between the pipe & wall.
- Put the 5/8″ OD compression nut that came with the valve on the pipe
- Put the ferrel on the pipe. It’s the beveled brass ring between the nut & the valve body.
- Put just enough liquid paste Teflon thread compound on the valve thread to cover the first two threads.
- Slide the valve on the pipe and thread the nut onto the valve with the ferrel between. Only hand tight for now.
- Now hold onto the valve body with one pair of pliers while turning the compression nut. This is called using a back up while tightening. In plumbing if you need to use pliers always bring a second pair to hold back up.
- Tighten the nut pretty tight but don’t use all your strength.
- Make sure the valve is in the off position and turn the water back on to your house.
- Check for leaks.
Quick Connect Angle Stops
Quick connect angle stops are just what their name suggests. They work like a Chinese finger trick.
- Cut your 1/2″ copper, PEX or cpvc pipe cleanly. These will not work with galvanized steel, regular pvc or polybutylene unless specifically made for them.
- Be sure the outside of your pipe is clean & smooth. These will leak if there are scratches, solder or debris on the outside of the pipe.
- Measure the depth of the quick connect & make a mark on your pipe that same measurement back from the end of your pipe. We’re doing this to be sure your valve is pushed all the way onto your pipe
- Position the quick connect angle stop squarely against the pipe. Make sure your plastic insert inside the quick connect can be pushed smoothly inside your pipe.
- While carefully holding back up on your pipe, if possible, push the quick connect on.
- Check that you’ve pushed the valve all way to your mark on the pipe.
- Make sure the angle stop is off & turn your house water back on.
- Check for leaks.
Threaded Angle Stops
Threaded angle stops are relatively simple depending on what kind of pipe you’re working with. Be sure you know the correct size of thread before purchasing the angle stops.
I prefer to have the old one with me. I don’t recommend threaded angle stops unless your just replacing them & you don’t have enough pipe to cut the thread off for a quick connect or compression style angle stop.
Anyway, here we go.
- Be sure the threads of your pipe are clean and free of debris.
- Put three wraps of Teflon tape on the threads. Be sure the tape is snug, installed in the same direction as you’ll be turning the valve on, and leave the first thread free of tape.
- Wipe a little bit of liquid paste Teflon thread compound onto the first two threads.
- Thread your angle stop onto your pipe hand tight. Be sure your valve is squarely against the face of the pipe threads to avoid cross threading. I’ll sometimes turn my valve backwards for a bit until I feel it kind of fall into position. Then I’ll thread it on.
- Using one pair of pliers to hold back up on your threaded pipe begin tightening your valve with the other pair of pliers until.its pretty tight & positioned correctly. (Some purist believe you should only use crescent wrenches to prevent scratches. We always called crescent wrenches “knuckle busters” because they easily slip.)
- Turn the angle stop off & turn on your house water.
- Check for leaks.
I know. I know. I’m not forgetting the other styles. But I don’t recommend messing with them. I only mentioned them to be thorough. And I really want to stress that it’s important to not let your ego take on more than your mechanical abilities will allow you to complete. Like the man said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I’m not discounting you ladies. Just quoting. And by the way, remember plumbers are more expensive after hours & on weekends. Don’t tick off your spouse and make them do without water for a day or two. You’re really good at your job. Let me be really good at mine. Your spouse will thank you. Your nerves will thank you. Your budget will thank you. And I’ll thank you. So call Advocate Master Plumbing. I promise you’ll always get a master plumber.
Here’s a couple of videos that may help.