Asked on Aug 25, 2016

Leaky pvc ball valve handle cap and joint

John Wood
by John Wood
I spent a long time fixing a broken irrigation pipe and now have small leaks in a couple of places. In the picture water flows downwards and the ball valve controls the flow from the main line to the irrigation line.
1. Highlighted in red is a leak on the cap of the handle of the slip in mueller ball valve. The leak happens only when the valve is open completely or in certain position.
2. Highlighted in green the joint at the elbow coupling and the horizontal pvc pipe is leaking. It only leaks at the botton and I verified it by checking that the top and side of the joint are dry.
I would hate to redo the work again as there is no give on the surrounding pipes and the only option would be replace the whole manifold. It can be done but I am looking for a spot fix for both from the experts on this forum.
  8 answers
  • William William on Aug 25, 2016
    The rubber seals on the ball valve are probably worn and not sealing properly. They would have to be replaced. The joint leak may be repaired with a two part epoxy putty. After mixing the epoxy putty, force it in the joint, wrap it around the joint, and and feather it smooth. This may only be a temporary fix.
  • Jaxon Jaxon on Aug 26, 2016
    My husband is a plumber and recommends replacing it all. Anything else would be like putting a band aid on it. There is no quick fix to have it done right. When you put it together use the blue pvc glue. Good luck!
    • George Knipp George Knipp on Aug 26, 2016
      I agree. I'm not a certified Plumber, however I used to service swimming pools and have done my share of plumbing repairs on pump, filters and transfer pipes. The best answer is to fix it right the first time. Anything else would be merely a temporary , and likely won't last even a month. especially if there is any pressure on the pipe. It will continue to leak until it is replaced, and could cause damage to surrounding areas. As big of a pain as it may be to replace, do it ASAP to prevent any further damage.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Aug 26, 2016
    I found a great stretch tension hold tape wrap I used on outdoor pool pipes joint leaks that lasted forever.The epoxy putties did hold as well as the tape. wrap.
  • Rst3271473 Rst3271473 on Aug 26, 2016
    Get some blue pvc cement and paint the joint with it. It should seal after an application or two. It works great on my swimming pool piping. Seal the cap in the same manner. It won't solve the base problem with the valve but it might work for awhile. Turn off the water while you do this and don't turn it back on until it's had time to cure, say 5-10 minutes.
  • Galen W. Yoder Galen W. Yoder on Aug 26, 2016
    I've had a poor ratio of PVC ball valves,so much so that I switched to Brass 1/4 turn ball valves.(cost more, but it beats the headaches like the one you've presented!) Also when I can I try to design the manifold with Unions on both sides of the valve for easier replacement. Always thoroughly clean and de-bur pipe & fittings, and then Primer and Rain or Shine Blue glue all connections! Just a note: sometimes trying to fit too much into a small design can really be your worst nightmare!
  • Alan Alan on Aug 27, 2016
    There are no quick cheap and nasty fixes for these type glued PVC fittings, I've just done a repair to our Spa Diverter Valve and had to replace the whole thing, that is the Downside of Glued PVC, it might be worth your while to convert it into Copper fittings especially where the Valve connects to the PVC, it may cost a we bit upon setup, but will no doubt be cheaper in the long run especially when it comes to general maintenance.
  • John Wood John Wood on Oct 03, 2016
    I put in pipe glue around the valve handle and it has stopped the leak. Not sure how long it stays like this but its been more than a month. Also I glued a cut piece of the coupling round the leaky elbow which stopped the leak too.
  • Scott Scott on Nov 21, 2020

    The variety of ball valve I bought at HD has a simple O-ring to replace. Pop the cap off, rotate and pull up the handle, use an O-ring tool to remove the cheap one that it comes with. I used a 314 O-ring; 3mm diameter, 14mm internal diameter, purchased at Marshall's Industrial Hardware in San Diego (got the tool there also).

    I tried a slightly thicker O-ring and couldn't fit the handle down enough to engage. So happy I didn't have to replace the entire valve, as it is glue in with four others. It leaked right from the start after purchase.

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