How To Loosen A Corroded Water Valve

How To Loosen A Corroded Water Valve

Anthony Barnes

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Water systems are complex, and they require regular maintenance. If your water valves are having issues, then it can lead to serious problems like water damage and flooding.

Over time, your water valves are liable to rust and corrode, and this can make it hard to loosen them.

As a result, you might find it difficult to loosen or shift your water valves to repair your plumbing.

If your water valve is corroded and you don’t know how to loosen it, then you’re in luck!

In this handy guide, we’ll take you through some easy step-by-step instructions on how to deal with stuck water valves.

We’ll also look at some reasons why your water valves can become corroded in the first place. So let’s get started!

Why Do Water Valves Get Corroded?

The main reason that water valves get corroded is because of exposure to air and moisture.

Over time, your pipes can be subjected to condensation, which in turn leads to corrosion.

Leaks and cracks in your pipes will allow moisture into your home, which will cause your water valves to rust.

These can come about due to changes in temperature (for instance, if your pipes get damaged during freezing temperatures) or general wear and tear.

Another reason that your water valves might get corroded is because they have been exposed to high levels of chlorine.

Chlorine is used as an ingredient in many household cleaning products, so it’s not surprising that it ends up in our drinking water. It can react with iron and copper, leading to corrosion. 

Other things in the water, such as calcium, salt, and even just regular water and air can lead to the metal in your pipes becoming corroded.

This can happen when your water system has been leaking for a long period of time, or if you haven’t given your plumbing the maintenance it needs.

Rust, mineral buildup and other forms of corrosion can lead to your water shut-off valves getting stuck.

Loosening a stuck water valve can be tricky, but with the right tools and know-how it is simple enough to fix!

How To Loosen A Corroded Water Valve

How To Loosen A Corroded Water Valve: A Step-By-Step Guide

So now that we know some reasons why your water valves can become corroded and stuck, it’s time to learn how to loosen them.

In this guide, we’ll take you through each step along the way to loosening a corroded water valve (see also ‘Top 10 Automatic Water Shut Off Valves‘).

Step 1) Shut Off Your Water Supply

Before you can start trying to loosen your water valve, you first need to switch off your home’s primary water supply.

You’ll have to find the primary water supply valve yourself, but they are typically located on the exterior of your house or somewhere inside the house itself.

This is an important step as without switching off the water coming into your house before you start working on your plumbing, you’re risking a lot of flooding and water damage if something goes wrong.

Shutting off your home’s primary water supply will make sure that you can work without the risk of leaks.

Step 2) Drain Remaining Water

Just shutting off the water supply won’t get rid of the water already in your house, however, and any remaining water will need to be drained before you can get to work.

To do this, you simply need to turn on faucets around your house to let the water pour out.

If your house is single-level, you should turn on several faucets around the house, at least one on each side of the building.

For multi-level houses, aim for at least one faucet per story.

Step 3) Wipe Down The Valves

With the water all drained, you can start working on the plumbing.

Using an old cloth or rag, wipe away any dirt and grime that has built up around the valves.

This will make it easier to work on the valve, and can sometimes loosen up the valve on its own.

If you’re dealing with stubborn dirt and build-ups, use some white vinegar with water to get rid of stuck minerals.

How To Loosen A Corroded Water Valve

Dry off the valve, and try giving it a turn. If it’s still stuck, move on to the next step.

Step 4) Apply Penetrating Oil To The Valves 

If vinegar and water doesn’t make the valve budge, try using some penetrating oil.

This cuts through even the sturdiest build-ups of dirt, grime, and rust.

By adding penetrating oils, you can get rid of most of the material that is causing your valve to stick.

It also adds lubrication to the valve, which makes it easier to loosen.

Leave the oil on for at least 30 seconds to make sure it has a chance to react with the dirt, and try to shift the valve. 

Step 5) Use A Wrench

Sometimes a valve is too stuck to budge by hand, and you need to use some tools to loosen it.

That’s where a wrench comes in. This will give you extra leverage to twist the valve, making it easier to loosen.

You might want to add some more penetrating oil to the valve beforehand to improve your chances. 

Alternatively, you can use a rubber mallet to lightly tap the valve; this has the dual benefits of loosening the valve slightly while also letting the oil sink in deeper.

Be patient to avoid damaging the plumbing, and you should be able to loosen the valve in no time!

Final Thoughts

Dealing with a corroded and stuck water valve can be difficult, but with these methods you should be able to loosen your valves without too much hassle.

If all else fails, you may need to replace the valve. But with enough patience and by trying the methods in this guide, you should be able to loosen your corroded water valve in no time. Good luck!

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age