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Speeding up a main water shutoff gate valve.


A simple hack to make opening and closing a gate valve faster

The shutoff for my water supply is a gate valve. This takes 12 revolutions to open or close. (I don’t like leaving valves half open). It was just a little aggravating to go through that every time I wanted to shut the water off and turn it on. 

One solution would be to have a plumber install a ball valve. That would mean 1/4 turn of the handle would open or close the valve. I could try that myself but I’m not sure about the condition of the street valve. 



Main water shutoff gate valve.

Above is a picture of the gate valve in question. It has a standard handle. 

The parts needed for this project were

  • A speed/spinner knob for a steering wheel. $10 from Amazon. I looked for a spinner knob that had a threaded shaft and nut at the bottom. 
  • A flat piece of metal. I had an angle bracket that I cut for a straight piece for the handle. The nice part was that the pre-drilled holes matched well with what I needed. 
  • Two bolts. The diameter needed to be small enough to fit through the holes in the valve handle. 
  • Two wingnuts (or regular nuts)
  • Two washers for the nuts and bolts plus two larger washers. 

I removed the part of the spinner knob that would connect to the steering wheel. I needed to enlarge the hole where the knob would be attached to the handle. I had a small drill press that made the job a lot easier. 

One hole lined up fine with the valve handle. For the other hole, I needed to elongate the hole in the metal bar. That was simple with the drill press. 


Parts to hack a gate valve to speed up opening and closing the valve.

Installation was simple. 


Hack for a gate valve to speed up opening and closing the valve.

Take it easy near the end of the opening/closing cycle. The sudden stop caused by going too fast will eventually break the valve handle

The end result was that an irritating process became a lot less irritating.  As a bonus, I was able to use the clamp that would attach to the steering wheel to fix a dolly / hand truck with a broken weld

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