Cheap angle stops

Just saying. Hate 'em.
I have two choices: don’t touch them and risk they’ll fail the moment I leave. Or rotate them, and risk that they’ll start dribbling.

why would You even consider operating that valve unless You were hired to do a repair?, and that certainly does not look like a cheap valve from Ohio…


Because for commercial clients I operate valves, with a disclaimer. And yes, I consider angle stops to be normal operating controls. It’s important that the shutoffs be operational when needed.

The pictured valve is not as cheap as they come, but the plastic handle has become brittle, and the valve cannot perform its basic function. There are much worse out there, with plastic shafts, the type that explosively fail when bumped even inadvertently. I will often call those on age alone, as actually touching them is an invitation for turning a risk into an emergency.

Maybe the question should have been asked in the Commercial Inspections category?

I would not even think about in a residential setting. I’ve changed out many lines under my own sinks with these valves and almost always have had to place “drip catchers” underneath for a day or two until they seal themselves. I would never touch one on a home inspections.


it is Your business and You can do as You see fit, You can’t hammer smart into people, good luck,


This is a mistake. Operate a old angle stop and the packing will leak when you walk away. Now you are on the hook for a new cabinet and the multi floors beneath.


This begs the question, why do you differentiate between residential and commercial when it comes to operating valves?


The commercial clients are generally hiring me for long term state of good repair inspections, so I offer to inspect with an eye to total cost of ownership. It’s not a strict residential/commercial matter. If I had to put a rule on it, it’s either an inspection for a prospective buyer (my client does not own the property) or the current owner (I’m much more free to touch stuff and dig deeper).

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By all means, if you are working for the current owner and they want the valves tested, carry on, regardless of how cheap the valves are.

Don’t test any valves… just tell them where the main shut off is located in case of emergency


Then you may want to carry a set of plumbing tools and a variety of fittings, unions, valves, etc. if you want to risk breaking valves (that you already know have a propensity for failure).

Don’t forget rags, buckets, shop-vac, and appropriate insurance.

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I’d rather have the failure happen to me, during the daylight when a quick reaction is possible, than at an unknown future time. So, bring it on, I test valves for current owner clients who accept the risk. And yes I know where the shutoff is and always have a wrench.

I just hate the cheap angle stops, it feels like Russian Roulette, per my OP.

You could tighten up the packing nut. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I feel like the age of the valve is a bigger factor in failure than quality. A valve is a fairly simple device. Even the cheap ones work good for a little while. With age and lack of use, cheap ones and expensive ones fail alike.


I would be less likely to operate one during a commercial inspection. Typically angle stops are a de minimus issue for most commercial properties.

That being said, I don’t touch them as a general rule.

Not de minimums for commercial apartment complexes, where each unit has minimum of 5. I’ve been to the aftermath of anode rode/water heater/ball valve and toilet leaks when residents are gone…

I absolutely disagree. There are distinct quality and longevity differences. A plastic stem multi turn angle stop compared to a metal stem for example.

There’s a price race to the bottom, and angle stops are in the race.

One of the reasons I operate valves, is that lack of use is a contributor to failure (I also operate gate valves when safe).


Have a look at how a good one is constructed. Note that ball valves have one or two O-Rings in addition to the ball:



I agree. If a angle stop is operated during an inspection it is very possible an older stop will begin a slow leak after you leave. If your lucky it will leak immediately and a professional can be called in for replacement. I know we’re not doing that while inspecting. A stop should also be left in a certain position to ensure future operation.

What one inspector thinks is paramount, another inspector dismissed as a minimal issue. It reminds me of an apprentice that went to plumbing school at night. What he learned was his new fixation for the next day. Anode rods and angle stops are Bryce’s fixation.

Follow the SOP.


Wait till you come across those delightful “push-pull” button capped stops. See how many of those you operate.


No doubt. I guess what I was trying to say is that regardless of price/quality, I don’t trust a 20 year old valve that has never been operated. I don’t want to be the first one to operate that valve in someone els’s home/property.


Keep it simple. The stop valves (not all stop valves are angle valves) should be operated few times a year to ensure they are able to shut the water off in case of an emergency. Should the valve begin to leak and or fail to shut the water off, contact a professional to service/replace it.

During a commercial inspection, just like any other, the buyer does not own the building yet! and unless a common practice in your area, don’t turn those valves :slight_smile: