Things You'll Need
Turn the valve on and off for a period of a few minutes, every three months or so. Hard water deposits can make ball valves stick, so if you live in an area with known hard water, test the valve's looseness more frequently to help keep it loose. Ball valves are meant to be fairly stiff to keep them from leaking, though not to the extent where they can't be turned by hand.
PVC ball valves are installed in water supply lines for household water use and sometimes in garden watering systems. The valve has an inlet in each end for the supply pipe to enter, and depending on the valve can be cemented to the pipe or tightened in place with nuts. The ball itself has a hole drilled through the center, which when aligned with the supply pipe (by turning the valve handle), allows water to rush through the hole and serve the attached appliances. Loosening the valve is a quick process, but replacement may also be necessary.
Turn the water off at the home's main shut-off valve. Attempt to open and close the valve by turning its handle several times by hand.
Squirt lubricating spray where the valve handle enters into the valve, and wait 20 minutes. Attempt to turn the valve handle again, by hand. If it is still hard to turn, tap the valve slightly with a hammer, and place a pipe wrench around the handle to turn it (position a rag between the handle and wrench to keep the wrench from chewing up the handle). Keep attempting to turn the handle on and off for a few minutes.
Turn the water back on if the valve loosens and keep turning the valve until its looseness reaches an acceptable level. However, if the valve handle refuses to budge, it needs to be replaced.
Steve Sloane started working as a freelance writer in 2007. He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. He also writes movie reviews for Inland SoCal. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.