How to unstick brass valve?
December 16, 2011 3:25 PM   Subscribe

How do I unstick this brass bypass valve?

We have a solar hot water batch heater system. During the winter I was advised to bypass and drain the system in the winter. Unfortunately the large bypass valve is completely stuch. The copper piping is not secured though, so I have not that much torque. I have tried using a large pair of water hose pliers and a pipe wrench. One to steady the copper tubing and one to turn the valve, and nada.


Any help? I seem to have lost my torch head (Have Propane and MAP gas though), but will purchase one if I need to. Scared of 'sweating' the joints and causing a leak.
posted by NotSoSimple to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
try loosening the nut on the back of the valve a little bit with a large crescent wrench. That should make it easier to turn the valve. After shutting off the valve, re-tighten the nut.
posted by cosmicbandito at 3:35 PM on December 16, 2011

Best answer: I am assuming the procedure is to loosen the nut, move the valve to the appropriate position and then retighten the nut; note the pipe wrench like marks on the nut.

Is there any chance you could be dealing with a left-handed thread? A left-handed thread would ensure that tightening the nut would not tend to reopen the valve when it was closed.
posted by jamjam at 4:07 PM on December 16, 2011

Best answer: Loosen the nut a half turn or so. Have one person hold the valve body (so you're not moving things around and stressing the pipes and joints) and the other person tap the back of the valve stem using a center punch in that little dimple.

If a half dozen or so good solid taps fail to do the trick, DO NOT GO ALL MAXWELL EDISON ON IT.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:21 PM on December 16, 2011

I think the problem is he can't loosen the nut.
posted by jamjam at 6:30 PM on December 16, 2011

WD-40 or even valve oil that is used on a brass instrument... but I would recommend WD-40. Might take awhile - just be patient and gentle. Be sure to read the directions on the can.
posted by brownrd at 7:54 PM on December 16, 2011

WD-40 is what I would use if I didn't have any Plusgas. Plusgas is magic, but may not be available in your country.
posted by Lebannen at 3:56 AM on December 17, 2011

WD-40 will sometimes work, but penetrating and loosening threads is not its primary purpose. For this type of work you really want something like Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster (I don't know where you're located, but these two should be relatively easy to find in the US. PB Blaster should be available in most auto-part stores).
posted by tigrrrlily at 6:18 AM on December 17, 2011

Response by poster: The valve wont turn at all. Have not turned the nut yet, I figured that wouldnt do anything. Ball valve maybe? I have PB Blaster but it STINKS and this is in my laundry room in my house. No way I am using that and living to tell about it via my wife. WD-40 I can try as well.
posted by NotSoSimple at 6:13 PM on December 18, 2011

Response by poster: Just figured I would update. Loosened up the nut.. Nothing. Decided to get smart rather than break something. Took a hammer and gently tapped the post, viola! Valve cycles like butter now. I had to tighten it back up due to leaking but it is great. THANKS!
posted by NotSoSimple at 9:12 AM on January 10, 2012

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