So, recently I had to replace the washing machine shutoff valves in one of our properties since they were leaking and in general so stiff that I needed a wrench to operate them. Definitely a candidate for a change out, so here’s how I did it:
The old washer valves
First things first: Turn off the main water shutoff valve to the house unless you want to deal with a fountain in the laundry room.
Next, remove the old values using a pipe cutter (or hacksaw). I had to use a hacksaw due to the limited space in the enclosure.
Washer supply pipes after valve removal
Next, prep the supply pipes by removing any old solder and oxidation with a wire brush or some semi-coarse sandpaper. Also, using the same technique, roughen the inside of the valve coupling. This will greatly improve the soldering process and promote a better seal with the fittings we will install later on.
Apply a good coat of water soluble flux to the outside of the supply pipes and the inside of the valve coupling.
Apply water soluble flux to the supply pipes and valve couplings
Next, using the pieces of Duroc® to protect the plastic enclosure from heat damage, place the female valve couplings on the supply lines and heat with a propane torch. Heat the fittings until the copper looks to be a brighter shade of orange. While heating the fittings, gently rub the solder along the joint to be soldered. When the copper approaches the correct temperature the solder will begin to melt and flow upwards between the supply pipe and the valve coupling.
Important note: Things will go much more smoothly if there is no water in the supply pipes. If water is too close to the joint being soldered, it will take much longer to come to temperature as the water has to be boiled away.
Carefully remove the Duroc® from the work area and place it in a bucket of water as it may be hot from exposure to the propane torch. Next, using a big and very wet sponge, cool the fittings enough to where you can touch them with your bare hands.
New valve with Teflon tape applied
Use an adjustable wrench and a crescent wrench to tighten the new valves into the valve couplings. Be very careful not to twist the copper pipes as they could be damaged causing them to need replacement.
New shutoff valves installed
Below are the tools necessary for this task.
Crescent wrench, adjustable wrench and wire-brush multi-tool
A good pair of gloves is essential for this kind of work
(from top left) Lead-free solder, Teflon tape, propane torch, water soluble
flux paste, torch igniter
Duroc® pieces and female valve coupling