If you deal with this type of PVC valve in your plumbing, then you need to make a Valve Tamer. This is a simple project born out of frustration with hard-to-turn PVC valves.
Here’s how you can make one out of 3/4” PVC fittings and pipe. You just need two end caps, a Tee, a straight coupler, and a few feet of 3/4” schedule 40 PVC pipe. You will also need some PVC primer and PVC cement. A PVC pipe cutter helps, but if you don’t have one, you can use a hack saw instead. In fact, keep that hack saw handy because you’ll need it later in the project.
First, cut two short pieces of PVC. I cut mine to about one and a half inches long, but you can cut them longer if you want a longer handle. Next, push one of the short pieces in to the end of the tee then push an end cap on. Repeat for the other side. There is no need to glue these pieces together unless you just want to.
Now we have to cut a slot in the end of the straight coupler. Place the coupler over the top of the handle on a valve and mark the coupler where the slots need to be cut on both sides. If you don’t have a valve handy for reference you can mark the slots to be 3/8 of an inch wide. Continue the marks from the side onto the end. Put the coupler in a vice and use a hack saw to cut down about ¾ of an inch on both sides.
I used a Dremel tool to cut the tabs most of the way through, so I could break them off, but you could use a utility knife and score it at the base of the tabs to break them off, or you could drill them out with a 3/8” drill bit.
Check to make sure you have a good fit over the valve handle.
Now it’s time to make the shaft. It can be any length you want. The one you saw at the beginning of this video is about four feet long. This one will be about 16 inches long. First, prime the tee and one end of the pipe. Give each piece a generous coat of PVC cement. Press the pieces together and hold it firmly for about ten seconds. Wipe off any excess cement. Repeat this for the straight coupler and other end of the pipe. I recommend aligning the slots with the tee handle. Again, hold the pieces in place for about 10 seconds to keep them from pushing apart. Now give it about two hours to fully cure and it will be ready to use.
So why did I make one four feet long? It’s great for letting you turn valves in valve boxes below ground, overhead, or in the wall in the back of a cabinet. The slideshow below shows the convenience of having a long Valve-Tamer.
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