Why does shutoff valve water still runs? And simple tips to fix it!

"To conserve is to save" is one of the common ethics most of us value especially when you're either a family man or a low-income earner. Having to spend more expenses than what's expected is definitely a hassle everyone can relate to. That's why we often try to avoid consuming too many resources like electricity and water at home. But this can be a bit impossible when the shut off valve water still runs, or a sprinkler valve won’t turn off.

I've been in a similar situation when I left my home for a three-day business trip last November. When I came back, I learned that someone had broken a water pipe on my lawn area; wasting gallons of water and costing me a lot as a result. Worse, even after I shut off the main water valve to fix the broken pipe, it still discharges water.

The strong water burst made it hard for me to fix the pipe and stop the water from coming out. Eventually I got to resolve the issue with the help of a plumber; however, I spend money on other expenses. For you not to encounter the same problem, I listed below the main cause of continuous water movement even after you shut off the main valves I've found upon my research and how to fix it.

The Main Cause of Water flow after Valve Shutoff

The main issue of a continuous flow in the water line is the valve itself - it's either worn out or old already. Thus it is undeniably one of the common cases that's why mentioned below are tips to fix it. However, it is a must to learn the basics such as the location and types of the valve before moving on the process.

* Valves Location

Modern houses nowadays only have 2 or 3 water line valves located at their home. However, older houses that were built in over a couple of decades have more water valves than the latter.

Typically new houses have 2 main water valves, one that is around the side of your house water meter and the other one before the water line reaches the meter. Another valve is found in the street that can only be fixed by the water company technician. The first two valves mentioned are what you'll be turning down to stop water from running the whole house.

Water shut off valve

But if you're living in an older house and you have already shut off the main water valve, try to look for leakage in particular fixtures (like faucet, toilet, water heater, and washing machine) inside your house because an older house has valves attached to each fixture.

Be mindful that others have their main water valves located in the basement of their house or underground a pit. If you don't find yours outside, then try to look inside your home or better contact the water provider if it seems that the valve is buried in a pit.

* Valve Types

There are different types of water valve installed in houses. It is important for you to know this variety of valves before proceeding to fix the issue that's why I listed the most commonly used valves below.

Valve Types

I. Gate Valve - This type of valve is widely used in piping for the convenience and ease of its features. It has a circular handle that is used to turn the water on and off. However, it is not used to regulate or reduce water flow but to either completely turn on or shut down the water in the pipes.

II. Ball Valve - This is one of the easiest and simplest valves to operate. It is the type of valve that is often seen as a main water shutoff valve in houses. The ball valve has a lever handle that is designed to quickly open or close the water flow with a just a slight turn in it.

III. Globe Valve - This type is another one of the commonly used valves in houses. Its handle has a plunger with gasket or seal on the bottom. When you close the valve, its plunger goes down against the flow of water and closes it a bit. This valve allows variable changes in water flow.

Tips to properly shut down supply valves

Below are some of the tips on how you can shut down the supply valves properly:

  1. If you have a ball valve in your house, kindly turn it off a perpendicular angle, to the water supply line.  
  2. If you have either a gate or glove valve, turn it clockwise to turn off the water flow. It will take you at least 2 circular turns to shut it off.

Tips on fixing worn out supply valves

You will need a pipe wrench, screwdriver, lubricating oil, clean cloth and thread seal tape in the process.

1. Majority of continuous water flow after the main supply valve shutoff are issues concerning Gate valve and Globe valve. A missing or loose gasket (or rubber washer) is the main reason for such complication and which only these 2 types of valves have. The importance of the gasket is to seal the bottom of the valve from leakage and keep the valve itself firm over time.

To fix the valve, you will have to repair or replace the gasket. But you need to secure that the water flow does not have a high pressure when you do the process; Of course, you don't want to waste that supply. You have to re-open the valve and close it one full turn to make sure only a little amount of water is flowing.

Using the wrench, hold the body of the valve to prevent the pipelines getting strained. Remember that it will be difficult to do the process if the pipelines are strained. Unscrew the guts of the valve from the body and check if there's any debris on the bottom of the groove. If it appears damaged, it is highly recommended to replace the valve.  

After you have disassembled the unscrewed parts, take off the old gasket and clean it with a cloth. Place the new gasket and apply grease. Secure it with attaching thread seal tape and put everything back in order just like how you take them apart.

When you completed the procedure, you can turn the water supply on and test the valve again.

Another issue in the valve is a loose packing nut in the stem of the valve. Try gripping it tighter using a wrench, but not too much, to fix it and prevent leakage.

2. If a ball type is installed in your house as the main supply valve and the water continues to flow even you turn it off, the possible issue is a loose or damaged part. The procedure is similar to the first one except that you will need to replace the damaged part a new one.

Some modern houses have a sprinkler system as well. If you have one and the water continues to flow after the main supply valve shutoff, try to locate if it has its own shutoff valve. If the sprinkler still spurts water, it may be a sign of a broken sprinkler valve.

In Summary

We all want to save resources and money so we can provide for future emergency needs. That’s why it is important to avoid such circumstances as possible, and by learning the maintenance for your home fixtures especially things like water valves, you’re preventing expenses from happening. Remember the locations and the type of your main supply valve the next time you encounter similar cases.

Do you have other questions or suggestions about this topic? If so, please message me below.

Reference Links:

  1. https://www.quora.com/I-have-tried-shutting-of-the-water-at-the-main-valve-but-water-still-keeps-dripping-out-of-the-faucet-What-do-I-do
  2. https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/84/topics/112622-water-still-flowing-even-after-main-shutoff
  3. https://youtu.be/GiNpQohuCA4
  4. https://www.thespruce.com/where-to-shut-off-the-water-2718723
  5. https://www.wsscwater.com/customer-service/residential-tips/locating-and-operating-your-main.html

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