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#79 -- A Guide to Loosening Locked-Up Valves with a Valve Wheel Wrench

Posted by Jason Hugo and Anna Hartenbach on 10/19/2017 to Valves
Opening a valve, in theory, isn’t a challenging task. However, opening a wheel operated valve that is stuck can be extremely tricky and frustrating. There is no amount of twisting, turning, pulling that seems to make a difference with a locked-up valve.

So what do you do when you run across an older system, with visible signs of aging, and rusted or stuck valves? How do you loosen stubborn valves without “throwing a wrench” into the whole job (pun intended)?

Our solution: A valve wrench. This tool is indispensable in the field, with its handy ability to open even the most stubborn wheel valves.


In this article, we’re going to teach you how to use a valve wheel wrench to loosen a difficult valve. We’ll take a look at the valve wheel wrench itself to get a better understanding of what it is and what sets it apart from other wrenches.

Already know what you need? Feel free to hop on over to view our Gearench products and grab yours today!

If you need a little more convincing, keep reading…

What is a valve wrench?

A valve wheel wrench is a specially designed wrench used to grip the wheel of a valve to support efforts to open and close valves. They are particularly useful when opening a valve that has been shut too tight, is rusted shut, or stuck.

Valve wheel wrenches come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most have a handle and a head. In some designs, the head is in the shape of a “C” and in other designs the top of the “C” is more prominent, while the bottom of the “C” is less obvious – these designs usually have another semi-hook or “seat” beside them to provide a better grip. Additionally, some are double-headed, which gives the versatility of two sizes on the same wrench. While valve wrenches can be made of ductile iron, aluminum-magnesium, steel, or alloy steel; we highly recommend aluminum as it features a great weight to functionality ratio.

How do I use a valve wheel wrench to loosen a stuck valve?

To use a valve wheel wrench to loosen a stuck valve, use the “C” shape or hooked end to grasp the valve wheel rim, apply pressure, and turn the wheel.

Use a Valve Wheel Wrench to Loosen a Stuck Valve

That’s the short answer, but the longer answer goes a bit deeper. To understand it better, let’s delve into the laws of physics.

The valve wheel wrench is essentially a beam or solid rod with a fulcrum on the end. You are applying the input force to the valve wheel with the wrench by grasping, gripping, applying load pressure, and turning. The result comes from the output force generating motion for the valve wheel.

This illustration shows how the force you input creates output on the other end (credit)

Using a valve wheel wrench to loosen a stuck valve provides a simple solution to a sticky problem. Just like the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes discovered, using a lever to apply pressure to one end results in torque at the other end and produces a greater result than a man can reasonably accomplish on his own.

A valve wheel wrench has many practical applications within the fire protection industry. It can be used on many types of valves, including: grooved, wafer, and flanged butterfly valves; gate valves; and OS&Y valves. Aside from the fire protection industry, this wrench can serve as a handy ally for oil rigs, ships, Navy vessels, steam boats or trains, steam factories, power plants, water valves at treatment plants, dairy farms, universities, and water and theme parks. Pretty much anywhere with a valve wheel can benefit from a valve wheel wrench.

Why choose a Petol™ “100 Series” Aluminum Valve Wheel Wrench from QRFS?

The Gearench Petol™ “100 Series” Aluminum Valve Wheel Wrench features a more prominent hook with a cupping base pad. Its design provides a better grip and reduces the chances of slipping off the wheel once force is applied.

The Petol™ “100 Series” Aluminum Valve Wheel Wrench has a rounded gripping area and an overall smooth finish to provide comfort for the user. Additionally, it’s made of aluminum-magnesium to reduce the chances of sparking. They are available in three different sizes to accommodate a variety of valve wheel diameters.

One notable field observation is that these wheel wrenches are much lighter than they look. When you combine their insubstantial weight with their substantial benefits, it’s difficult to deny their practicality in your toolkit.

When you purchase a Petol™ “100 Series” Aluminum Valve Wheel Wrench (or any other item) from QRFS, you benefit from our devotion to customer service and passion for providing speedy standard deliveries that reach most of our customer in 2-3 days.

Our competitive pricing to all customers is something that is also very important to us, but, with a free contractor account, our prices get even better! While most of our products offer additional discounts in quantity amounts, contractor accounts can leverage this option to save even more!

At QRFS, one of our main priorities is expanding our industry knowledge so we can help you find the right solution at the right time.

Click here to browse our selection of Petol™ “100 Series” Aluminum Valve Wheel Wrenches from Gearench! If you need a Gearench product we do not currently have listed, just call 888.361.6662! We have access to Gearench’s full product line and can offer them to you at great prices!

Gearench Logo
VW101AL
Gearench PETOL "100 Series"
VW101AL
Length: 13 5/8"
Jaw Opening: 1 3/8"
VW102AL
Gearench PETOL "100 Series"
VW102AL
Length: 17 5/8"
Jaw Opening: 1 3/4"
VW103AL
Gearench PETOL "100 Series"
VW103AL
Length: 25 1/2"
Jaw Opening: 2 1/2"

Have a question? Add a comment below for us, and we’ll reply as soon as we can to get you on the right track!

This blog was originally posted by Jason Hugo and Anna Hartenbach at QRFS.com/blog on October 19, 2017. If this article helped you got your valve wheels spinning, check us out at Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or on Twitter @QuickResponseFS.

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