Extremely Slow Leak on a FlowTite Water Valve

Leaky Bastard
Leaky Bastard

Problem

After replacing a broken kitchen faucet, the “builders’ special” cheap plastic FlowTite water valve began to leak extremely slowly at the annoying rate of about one drop every 5-10 minutes.

Discussion

A few years ago, another FlowTite valve had a similarly excruciating leak after slight movement during some plumbing work.  That leak, so slow that evaporation kept it from accumulating much, magically cured itself after a week or two while I waited for a convenient time to replace the valve.

Solution

This time, rather than waiting for weeks to see if the leak went away, it occurred to me that the micro scale leak might be amenable to some micro level finnagling.  After gently using a heat gun to dry and expand the valve materials a bit, the molecules seemed to have bounced in my favor.  The leak immediately disappeared, and has not come back.  If it’s like its once-leaky brother, this valve should last for years in place.

If you must replace the valve, this type is a better way to go.

Update 2015:  I’ve since replaced another FlowTite valve that started leaking severely during a bathroom faucet replacement.  Not fun since I had to carefully remove it with a hacksaw because it wouldn’t just “unscrew” like some do.

Months later the toilet FlowTite valve in the same bathroom began to leak.  It was a slow leak but pooled up a bit over time.  The heat gun trick did not work immediately this time, but after manually twisting it around about 45 degrees, it slowed to a crawl and I placed a receptacle underneath to catch any drips while, as in the past, waiting for a convenient time to do the repair.  About a week later, the valve self-healed like the other one.  Like we say in Texas, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  The other two that self-healed have been dry ever since.

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