When my wife and I go away for a few days we always shut off the hot and
cold taps to the high pressure hoses on our washing machine. When we return
and open them up again, the hot water tap leaks from just under the handle
for a few days. Is there an easy way to fix this or do I have to replace the
whole tap? Is this something I can do myself? Thanks for the help and
A couple of choices--best one would be to replace both valves with a single
lever shut off valve. That way both hot and cold water are shut off with
one stroke of the off-on lever--this is something you could do your self but
if not comfortable with this type of DIY project, should be a quick and
easy job for a plumber--- Something you should do, BTW is to keep the
valve(s) closed all the time when not using the machine, not just when you
go away. You are depending on a relatively cheap valve on the machine to
give you 24/7 protection against a serious water leak--not to mention the
hoses (potential failure) that are also subjected to the trauma of the
various water pressure surges that take place most times when you open/close
a water faucet. Second is option is to remove the handle and replace the
MLD's advice is good. Additionally there are devices on the market that will
automatically shut off the wall valves. You plug the device into an outlet,
then your washing machine into the device. The device is plumbed into your
washer supply piping and has electrically operated valves. When you turn on
your washer, it senses the current flow and opens the valves. When the wasser
finishes, it senses that and shuts the valves. Not a bad job for an
experienced DIYer but should not be your first plumbing project.
Most manufacturers, due to liability reasons, will include in their manual or
lables on the back of the machine, directions to replace these hoses at least
every five years. To be safe, you should never use plain rubber hoses. Only
use hoses with steel braiding on the outside. The braiding provides
mechanical strength to the hose, preventing the rubber from bulging and then
splitting. The last set of hoses I purchased have small devices in them. If
the hose bursts, the high water flow will cause this device to close shutting
off the water. You'll only end up with a quart or two of water on the floor.
I'm not sure if it will do anything on a small pinhole or weep since it
wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and normal washer
As to your original question, it sounds like your valve stem packing is
leaking. You could just tighten the nut under the valve, on top of the body
of the valve. However, it's probably best to replace both the valve washer
and packing. They're both probably worn and easily replaceable while you have
the valve apart.
First, turn off the supply to this fixture. Then undo that nut under the
handle. Then, turn the handle to unscrew the stem from the body. Replace the
rubber washer. You can buy a pack of mixed sizes from a home center, or bring
the stem to the store to get the right size. Just unscrew the screw in the
middle and pry to remove the old. Also pick up some teflon packing (looks
like thick white string). Remove any old packing from under the nut by prying
with a very small screwdriver. I lightly buff the stem with something like
the scrubbing (green) side of one of those sponges for scrubbing pans. Wrap
some packing around the stem (3 or 4 turns) under where the nut goes. You're
trying to fill the space under the nut and still leave enough room to start
the nut back onto its tread. Reassemble. Tighten the nut. Turn water back on.
If you still get a leak at the stem, tighten the hex nut until it stops.
Close and open a few times to check and retighten if necessary. If you can't
stop the stem leak, disassemble and rebuild using more packing this time.
Howard Fisher wrote:
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