Why Dripping from One-Lever Shut Off Valve of Washing Machine?

I am wondering why the one-lever shut off valve of my washing machine starts dripping. It was trouble-free since the plumber installed it seven years ago. Unfortunately, since several weeks ago it started dripping whenever I turn ON the valve. Luckily, it doesn't drip when I turn it OFF. But today it has become a fast-drip rather than a slow- drip. Seem like the problem is getting worse. I will have to replace it. Before I replace it, I want to figure out why it drips in the first place.
I am under the impression that one-lever shut off valves are very reliable, and I only turn it ON and OFF only twice a week for the last seven years. This means I turns the lever four times a week, 208 times a year, and 1456 times since it was installed seven years ago. I have a feeling that the valve is not subjected to a lot of wears, right?
My questions are:
o Why does this valve start dripping so soon?
o How can I prevent the new valve from failing so soon if I replace the old one with a new one?
o Is there any brand of valve that is better than others?
Thanks in advance for any info on this problem.
One thing I need to point out is that the valve is in the basement, and the water pipes come from the ceiling of the basement, and reach the valve that is mounted in the middle of the basement wall. I am wondering whether there is something in the water that may have sunk down to the bottom of the water pipe and touched the valve and might have corroded the valve or scratched the valve.
Jay Chan
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Just replace the $5 valve and spend your time thinking about something that is actually important.
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Wrong. The valve stem seals are rubber O-rings and you wore them out.

Seven years of use isn't soon.

You can't...just live with it. Sometimes newer products are superior and you could get lucky and make 8 years.

Better ones may be somewhat higher priced.

Not likely.
Joe
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Something is worn out, like a washer or seal. Not so soon, really

Don't ever use it.

Could be rust or sediment in the water that wears it over time. My facet seals used to wear out quickly all the time until I installed a filter.
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Thanks for yours and other's replies to my post.
I didn't realize that an one-lever valve can wear off in sever years -- it looks really solid to me, and I thought it would last forever. I think I have expected way too much. OK, I will replace it in this weekend -- probably with a new one that can detect leak and shut off the valve automatically that I always want to use.
Jay Chan
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Replace the valve--it's leaking and none of your questions is going to fix it. One hint though--assuming that it's soldered in place---by an exact duplicate model and just replace the innards and use the same outer body. I did that without any problems. Makes for an easy solution. MLD
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Good tip. I still prefer to get the version that can detect water leak and automatically shut off the water supply. I will keep your tip in mind if I cannot find that version. Thanks.
Jay Chan
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