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Quarter Turn or Multi-turn Angle Stops
Old 11-02-2009, 08:21 AM   #1
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Quarter Turn or Multi-turn Angle Stops

I think I may need to replace the shutoff valves (angle stops) for a bathroom sink. The current ones do not shut off completely for some reason. In the past, they have sometimes dripped where the rotating shaft feeds through the end cap (not sure of the names). The current ones are multi-turn.
Would quarter turn valves be better in this application? Are there any disadvantages of them?
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:50 AM   #2
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Some possibly useful info:

How to Fix A Leaking Shutoff Valve | Plumbing Projects | Reader's Digest

Usually, there are two washers/o-rings in a valve. One is at the end the of valve stem, for providing a seal to stop flow when the valve is off.

The other is directly beneath the packing nut; i.e. the nut that holds the valve stem in place in the valve body. This washer/o-ring prevents leakage where the stem and packing nut meet...
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
I think I may need to replace the shutoff valves (angle stops) for a bathroom sink. The current ones do not shut off completely for some reason. In the past, they have sometimes dripped where the rotating shaft feeds through the end cap (not sure of the names). The current ones are multi-turn.
Would quarter turn valves be better in this application? Are there any disadvantages of them?
Ah, leaky valves. Music to a recovering submariner's ears-- from Hitchcock's "Psycho" soundtrack.

That Family Handyman link is great advice, and a crescent wrench works as well as their pliers. We've had a subscription to that magazine for at least five years, and it's saved us literally thousands of dollars in repair bills.

But back to your original question. Those valves get such infrequent use that their o-rings/packing can not only dry out, crack, and start leaking-- but pieces of the o-rings can break off and get into the water stream to further gum up the valve's internal seating surfaces.

Sometimes the simplest solution is to exercise the valve. Turn on the sink faucets and start the water running, then go underneath and give each isolation valve three or four cycles from full open to full shut. If they start to leak around the shaft (stem) going through the end cap (bonnet nut) then tighten the bonnet nut in 1/8th-turn increments until the dripping stops. Check the stem/bonnet after another day or two to make sure that things haven't relaxed and started leaking again.

If after this exercise the valves don't shut tightly and completely stop the water flow, then you could just replace them with the same model of valves (which are relatively cheap) or with the quarter-turn ball valves (which are a tad more expensive). The ball valves have their own issues but will work as reliably as the multi-turn throttle valves.

Submarines have literally thousands of valves of different design/construction, and in its infinite wisdom the Navy has a "preventive maintenance system" and a "small-valve grooming schedule" to lovingly care for each and every one of them. You can imagine the mechanic's glad cries of great joy as they climb all over the engine room's nooks & crannies trying to find work on valves that are sometimes touched only once or twice a year. The homeowner's version of this philosophy would be to cycle all the isolation valves a couple times a year to find the problems before they find you. With these occasional checkups, even the cheapest isolation valves will last for 20-30 years.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:34 AM   #4
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Nords, thank you for explaining HOW you know all this. I was beginning to think that all males were born with genetic-based knowledge of such things and/or with a "Plumbing 101" book tucked in their diapers. I surely had nothing to contribute, anyway.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:44 AM   #5
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In familiar counterpoint to Nords meticulous care I offer the harried landlord solution. Leave the dam things alone if they aren't leaking. If they are leaking, it's probably the bonnet nut, commonly turns with the shaft when it hasn't been exercised for a time and gets all loose and leaky. When you tighten the bonnet nut do yourself a favor and use 2 wrenches - one to hold the valve so you don't twist it and cause yourself further headaches. Harried landlord says: how often do I need that water shut off? if it continues to dribble, will that cause me horrible difficulties in whatever repair I'm doing? Replacing the valve means shutting off the water main if it's the cold water side or the valve at the water heater for hot - how tough is that? Is it maybe easier to just shut off the main on the rare occasions the water has to be totally off? Do I really want to find out if the galvanized nipple will twist off inside the wall? Do I want to practice CU line soldering skills inside a bathroom cabinet?

With even the most non-functional shutoffs a bucket has given me enough time to do a repair or faucet replacement.

If not 600' below the sea or above ground, my motto is don't go looking for trouble and don't create a major problem from a minor annoyance. Others have different training....
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:23 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your interesting and varied viewpoints. I did not give you all the relevant background......having been the victim of 2 disastrous floods from old type fittings on angle stop to faucet (hot water line), we routinely shut off these valves when we are gone for more than a day.......so usually 4-6x per yr. so ,if anything, perhaps overuse rather than underuse.

Nords, I will try to exercise them anyway to see if they will shut off more completely.

Calmloki......I think I tend naturally to your viewpoint about leaving stuff alone except that is overridden by my past history of floods. Also turns out the real world is not so simple since, in my experience, the valve on the main doesn't shut off completely after a while either and has to be supplemented by opening a supply line close to it (like a garden hose) to keep the supply from getting into the house. I like being a theoretical plumber because real life older plumbing is full of potential hidden complications.

W2R......I see you're down to single digits now. Is that an automatic countdown or do you have to do it manually.

Now back to my original question quarter turn vs multi-turn in my application where I will be exercising them 4-6x (est) per year. Advantage vs disadvantage of each type and which is better then overall.
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:05 PM   #7
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Now back to my original question quarter turn vs multi-turn in my application where I will be exercising them 4-6x (est) per year. Advantage vs disadvantage of each type and which is better then overall.
I prefer the quarter-turn valves. Never had a problem with them, but have had shut-off issues with multi-turn valves. (but that might just be that I am not screwed down tight to begin with...) Agree with Nords that cycling a few times might help, but might be easier to just replace it with a $10 quarter-turn valve- I'd use compression fittings to avoid setting the cabinets on fire trying to solder on a new valve...
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:28 PM   #8
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I'm a big fan of the 1/4 turn ball valves. My workplace, like Nord's submarine, has a bazillion valves and I'm always happy to see the 1/4 turn valve when I need to operate one. It's also nice to be able to determine open or closed at a glance.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:43 PM   #9
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This thread (starting at post 193) contains a good discussion of residential valve types, including a world-class smackdown I got from Nords. He knows valves.

I hope he won't mind a cut-paste of his bottom line recommendation from that thread.
Quote:
So... buy the valve that's designed for its intended purpose. If you're going to be operating it a lot and it needs to adjust the rate of flow, buy a throttle valve. (It usually has a rubber seat to seal the flow path.) If you're going to be turning something "on" or "off" once in a while, no throttling required but "no leakage" is important, then I'm biased toward gate valves. If you're going to operate something very infrequently or if you need something that quickly slams shut, then use a ball valve.

Washing machine valves with automatic leak-detector shutoffs, rarely operated-- ball valves.
Washing machines valves manually but rarely operated-- gate valves.
Washing machine valves open/shut manually & frequently-- gate valves or throttle valves. Gate valves can be cheaper by the unit but wear out faster.
Sink faucets-- rotary throttle valves.
I've had good results with the ball valves (aka quarter-turn valves). I put them where I really want to be sure I can turn the water off when needed, and where they won't get much use or attention for years. Years down the line when they start to leak and I can't repair them, I might regret this choice, but they are working fine so far.
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:38 PM   #10
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Just installed 1/4 turn valves for the new kitchen faucet. Its only been a few weeks, but I like the 1/4 turn valves so far
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:48 PM   #11
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Thanks all for the suggestions. Thanks esp to samclem...........that's exactly what I was looking for, I think. Right now my head hurts from trying to read and understand it....need to get my definitions straight first. I'm really looking for long term performance in my particular application.........and slow degradation vs catastrophic failure could be important ; also external vs internal leaks. Not sure what the answer is since I'm still digesting it but I'll be putting Nord's dissertation in my Save Forever File.

edit to add: not sure how that thread got from OP to plumbing valves but it would be a good project for someone.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:19 PM   #12
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Nords, thank you for explaining HOW you know all this. I was beginning to think that all males were born with genetic-based knowledge of such things and/or with a "Plumbing 101" book tucked in their diapers. I surely had nothing to contribute, anyway.
We nukes went to a "special" school where we had to draw pictures, label them, and discuss valve normal/casualty operating procedures. Then we had to get all excited about the valve technical manuals and proper operating procedures. Heady stuff.

After seven years of ER, I believe that I've finally forgotten the 21 required steps to be followed when operating a nuclear valve. In fact, I'm not even sure any more that it's actually 21 steps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
edit to add: not sure how that thread got from OP to plumbing valves but it would be a good project for someone.
Very short attention spans...
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