is this a valve?
October 19, 2014 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Is this a valve of some kind? If so, how do I close it?

The part that looks like you should be able to turn with your fingers, doesn’t budge at all and I don’t want to bend it. It’s in the middle of a 1/4” tube that runs from the water pipe to the flow-through humidifier on the furnace, so I would think the purpose would be to turn the flow to the humidifier on and off. I can’t see any other way to do it, other than turning the water off completely. I need to be able to turn off the water to the humidifier so I can fix a connection (and for maintenance in general).

Thanks in advance!
posted by Koko to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Yes, it's a 1/4 inch straight line needle valve. Righty tighty (off) lefty loosey (on)
They get stuck oftentimes and may need to be replaced.
posted by Floydd at 6:52 AM on October 19, 2014

Yes it's a valve. The stem is probably frozen, otherwise you would turn it CW to close it. You might be able to turn the nut on the top a little to unstick it. You may end up having to shut off the water supply, draining water out of the system, and replacing the valve. Good luck!
posted by coldhotel at 6:53 AM on October 19, 2014

It looks like a needle valve to me, probably a multi-turn valve, for very fine flow control.

The first thing I would try is a wrench, using however much torque you're comfortable with.

The second thing I would try is slightly loosening the packing nut, the one on top that the valve stem goes into. You might want to turn the water off somewhere upstream first.

You might try heating gently with a propane torch. Not real hot, maybe a little warmer than comfortable to touch.

If all that doesn't works, and you've turned the water off elsewhere, you should be able to disassemble it and see if you can get it working again.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:55 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Shoot a little penetrating oil on the stem so it goes into the packing. Wait five minutes. Try turning it again.
posted by notsnot at 6:58 AM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes it is. You might have some minerals in the valve that have prevented it from moving. My first action would be to turn the water supply off and use the time-honored method of wiggling and if that fails I would get a wrench and make the fucker move - I'm an idiot though.

Replacement Scenario: Turn the water off, open an outdoor garden tap to drain the system. Or get a mop. Tell everyone to not run the water dammit. Get your adjustable wrench, go to the local big box and buy a new valve, they are not that expensive, disconnect it [those are compression fittings on each end, they yield easily though copper becomes more rigid the more it is stressed] don't worry though.

You are looking at what is essentially Lego - it wants to go together by design.
posted by vapidave at 7:24 AM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

It looks like a needle valve to me, too, but it's hard to say without taking it apart.

If the goal is to shut off flow, first try looking for a shutoff valve. Typically needle valves are adjusted to set the operating flow rate and rarely changed. Needle valves don't like to be used as flow isolations if you can help it. Plus, when you restore flow, you have to figure out the correct setting to balance the system again.

Not that I'd be that surprised if there wasn't a dedicated isolation valve. Just, if there is, try not to mess with the throttle valve.
posted by ctmf at 10:02 AM on October 19, 2014

Unless it's an emergency, don't mess around with it while the stores are closed. They're pretty flimsy. ending that penetrating oil may be a good idea before trying to turn it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:12 PM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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