If you are at home working on an improvement project, or if you are taking care of a plumbing emergency, finding out that your toilet water shut off valve isn’t working is a major problem.

Unfortunately, there is no one reason, why your shut off valve is not working properly. This typically depends on the situation, what is actually wrong with the valve, and which valve it even is!

The first step is to turn off the water supply manually. After that, you can go about fixing the shut off valve depending on what the problem is. If your valve is stuck, you will need to lubricate it, if it is leaking, you will need to repair it.

What is Wrong With Your Shut off Valve?

There are a few different options for what may be wrong with your shut off valve.

If It Is Stuck

If you are having trouble closing your valve because it is stuck, this is very common. All you need to do with this is possible to spray the valve with a lubricant. You can use WD-40. Spray it, let it rest in order to lubricate, and then attempt to move the valve again.

You should spray your valves with lubricant periodically to make sure that you can use them if an emergency situation arose.

If It Is Partially Closing

Although you may be able to turn your valve slightly, you may not be able to fully turn it. This results in a partial shut off. It is extremely important to be able to turn off your water completely. If you are struggling with this issue then you may need to replace the valve completely.

If It Is Leaking

Whenever you shut off the water it will find another way out if the seal isn’t well done. This means you have a leak. In the case of a leak, you can try to tighten the fitting of your shut off valve and see if the leak stops. If it does not, then you may have to take the valve apart and replace the washer inside. Worst case, you may need to fully replace it.

How to Turn Off the Water Supply Manually

Whenever you have an issue with your water shut off valve not working, you will need to manually turn it off. This will allow you to inspect it more easily.

Step 1: Close the Toilet’s Shutoff Valve

Begin by locating the toilet’s shut off valve. It should be attached to the pipe behind your toilet. The shutoff valve looks like a football that is connected to a pipe on the bottom of your toilet.

Note: Some older toilets do not have a shut off valve behind them. In this case, you will need to cut off the main water supply for your entire house.

Step 2: Turn the Valve Clockwise

Do this until you can no longer turn the valve. It should not be difficult, so do not try and force it. If the water valve looks rusty or it is hard to turn it, then apply WD-40 to it. Follow the instructions above regarding “If it is partially closing”.

Step 3: Make Sure the Water is Off

Now you need to confirm that the water is definitely off. To do this, you can flush your toilet. If the water supply is off, then the back tank will empty out into the toilet bowl. It will not refill itself.

If for some reason your toilet is clogged, just lift the float lever in the tank. If the water is off, no more water will go into the tank when you press down this lever.

Step 4: Turn the Water Back On

After you have completed what you need to do, to turn the water back on is a simple process. Turn the valve counterclockwise as far as you can go. Flush the toilet to confirm it is back on.

How to Turn Off the Main Shutoff Valve

Although it is not always the first step in fixing your toilet water valve, sometimes you must turn off the shutoff valve to the entire house.

  1. Located the valve, it may be in your basement or outside.
  2. Turn the valve clockwise to shut off your main water supply. Note that all water supply will stop going into your home.
  3. When you are finished be sure to turn your water supply back on again. Turn the valve counterclockwise to turn the water back on.

How to Fix a Leaking Shut Off Valve

Fixing a leaking shut off valve is not very difficult. You do not need many tools, all you will need is a 4-in-1 screwdriver and slip-joint pliers. By fixing this yourself, you can save yourself an expensive visit from a plumber.

In order to fix a leaking shut off valve simply tighten the packing nut on the toilet shutoff valve. Do this only one-eighth turn clockwise to try to seal a leak around the nut.

You can wrap cloth or masking tape on the plier’s jaws in order to protect the nut’s finish. Do not press too hard, and use light pressure. You do not want to damage the water lines.

Plumbing shutoff valves behind sinks or toilets may not be touched for years. This inactivity can lead to brittle or crusty neoprene washers. This comes from mineral deposits and leads to leaky seals.

If You Find a Leak After Replacing Other Parts

  1. If you need to replace plumbing parts and are shutting off the valve in order to do so, you might notice that it will leak after you tighten it back up. To fix this, use groove joint pliers to tighten the packing nut.
  2. If the leak continues, you may need to replace it. Before deciding to replace it, you can first attempt to turn off the house’s main valve. Then, disassemble the shutoff valve without disconnecting it from the line to the toilet. Do this by unscrewing the handle as well as the packing nut, and the valve stem as well.
  3. Clean all of the washers with a cloth. You can move the neoprene around to get it back to its original shape. Do not use plastic tape on the valve stem’s threads.
  4. Reassemble the shutoff valve, turn the main valve back on, and see if it is still leaking. If it continues, the valve needs to be replaced.

What do I Do if the Water Valve is Turned Off But The Tank Continues to Refill?

In this case, you may have an issue with the shut off valve connected to the toilet. Turn off the main water supply to the entire house, or prop up the float lever in your toilet tank. This will stop it from refilling.

If I turn off the water to my toilet and still hear a trickling sound does this mean I have a leak?

Yes, this means you have a problem with the flush or fill valve.

Do you turn the valve on the toilet clockwise or counterclockwise to turn it off?

To turn the valve off, you will need to turn it clockwise. This is because it must be tighteneed to stop the water.