How to Replace a Leaky Toilet Water Shutoff Valve – remove the old toilet water shutoff valve and saw off the stuck compression nut.
This project is continued from Part 1.
The 10 year old multi-turn stop valve developed a slow leak at the white valve stem when I turned the water on after replacing a toilet fill valve. I tightened the packing nut a 1/4 turn with wrench, however it continued to leak a drop or two per hour, so I decided to replace it with a new Brasscraft® 1/4 Turn Ball Stop Valve.
The new 1/4 turn straight stop valve is shown here next to the old multi-turn stop valve:
Toilet Water Stop Valve Replacement Steps
Extremely Important! Before you grab a wrench, do the following:
- Shutoff the water to the entire house.
You can do this at the water meter. This is necessary to prevent high pressure water gushing out of the open copper pipe stub and flooding the bathroom when the stop valve is removed.
- Open the cold water faucets in the kitchen, bathroom or outdoor water hose bib that are lower in elevation than the stop valve in the bathroom.
Why? Because this will relieve the pressure in the cold water pipes AND drain the water out of the pipes that are higher than your stop valve. You don’t want several gallons of water running backwards from the 2nd floor plumbing out of the pipe stub all over the bathroom floor.
- Flush the toilet and hold the handle down to drain the toilet tank.
This will minimize the amount of water running down the toilet connector hose when you unscrew it from the stop valve.
Unscrew the 3/8 inch compression nut on the toilet connector hose with a wrench. The towel is catch the water in the connector hose.
After removing the Brasscraft® Speedi Plumb® PLUS toilet connector hose from the stop valve. Leave the other end of the hose connected to the bottom of the toilet tank.
Two adjustable wrenches are required to remove the 1/2 inch compression nut on the bottom of the stop valve. Hold the valve body in place with the top wrench and unscrew the bottom compression nut with the other wrench.
Lift the stop valve off the end of the 1/2 inch copper stub and set it aside.
In an ideal situation, the compression nut and brass sleeve would slide off the end of the copper pipe stub. The compression nut and sleeve were stuck because the pipe stub had 10 years of oxidation and mineral deposit buildup. When I pulled on the nut, it pinched the brass sleeve and wouldn’t budge. I also didn’t have enough pipe stub coming out of the floor to lower the nut and get at the brass sleeve. Applying WD-40 to lubricate the sleeve didn’t help. I could probably have left the old compression nut and brass sleeve on the pipe stub and installed the new stop valve, but I didn’t like that option.
My solution? Saw off the compression nut with my Dremel powertool with a metal cutoff wheel.
Cutting the compression nut requires great care to avoid damaging the 1/2 inch copper tube. Notice the 1/8 inch gap between the nut and pipe stub? That’s your margin of safety.
I only sawed through the threads of the compression nut with the Dremel tool and cutoff wheel. Hold the Dremel tool with both hands and cut a groove in the nut using light pressure. Go slow and check your work. Do not cut through the bottom collar of the compression nut because it rests directly against the copper pipe stub and there is zero clearance there. Saw through one side of the nut, rotate the nut 180 degrees and make an identical cut on the opposite side.
Insert the tip of a screwdriver in the groove cut by the Dremel tool and twist to crack open the compression nut. It took a surprisingly light force (a child could do it) to split the nut in two and it cracked with a “ping!”. Note two the red lines illustrating where the nut collar was not sawn with the Dremel tool.
The brass sleeve remained stuck on the copper pipe stub. I couldn’t cut the sleeve with the Dremel tool because it rested directly on the pipe stub and I would damage the pipe stub.
To remove the brass sleeve, I:
- Lubricated it thoroughly with WD-40.
- Set the jaws of the adjustable wrench to exactly the width of the 1/2 copper pipe stub so it would catch the bottom of the brass sleeve.
- Levered the adjustable wrench on an improvised fulcrum of two wrenches.
- Important! I set the palm of my hand on the top of the pipe stub to keep it from pulling out of the floor and stressing the plumbing in the floor and walls, then…
- Smoothly pressed down on the wrench handle to force the brass sleeve off the end of the copper pipe stub.
The brass sleeve came off without too much difficulty:
1/2 Inch Compression Nut and Sleeve
Here’s a couple of closeups of showing how I sawed through the threads of the 1/2 inch compression nut with the Dremel tool and cutoff wheel, then cracked it open by twisting a screwdriver in the groove.
See how I only sawed through the nut threads. I didn’t saw through the nut collar because I would’ve cut the copper pipe stub.
Another view of the compression nut interior:
The new 1/4 turn water stop valve is installed in Part 3.
Thanks for reading,
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