Does that look valve-ish to you?
January 4, 2012 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Is this a valve and, if so, how do you open it?

I'm trying to repressurise my combi boiler but it's not having it, there's a filling loop in place and the pipe on the other end of the loop has an obvious tap to open. I've tried removing the screw and turning the moving part of the part in the picture but there's no sign of any water flowing.

(sorry for the terrible photo)
posted by demagnetized to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
It looks like the screw would normally turn a handle that is mounted on the part with the screw hole. Try carefully grasping the flat edges of that part with pliers and turning it.
posted by Behemoth at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2012

*er, the screw would normally secure a handle.
posted by Behemoth at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

It is a valve. It is closed in the picture you have posted.

It should be open when the flat sides of the stem are parallel with the body of the valve. You should be able to use a small adjustable wrench to turn the stem.
posted by davey_darling at 2:35 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it looks like a ball valve. Turning it 90 degrees (by the flats) should make what was closed become open or vice versa.
posted by Brockles at 2:36 PM on January 4, 2012

I've seen handles for valves held on by a screw like that. If it's like the ones I've seen, the screw does not control the valve at all -- you would get a handle, unscrew the screw, push the handle onto some splines, and then put the screw back in (or turn the valve while shoving the handle on if you are in a major hurry).

I can't see what's behind the screw in your picture, no idea if that's what you have there. I'd think it would be a valve or there wouldn't be a screw there -- either that or it's been the victim of some sort of terrible kludge of a "repair."
posted by yohko at 2:37 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes it's a valve. It's missing the handle. The handle goes onto the round shaft that the screw is in. Notice the two small flat areas on the shaft - that's how the handle turns the shaft. The screw holds the handle tight against the shaft.

In the absence of a handle, you could try putting a small adjustable wrench on the flats of the shaft and turning it, but the flats are pretty small.
posted by Uncle Grumpy at 2:37 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'd already tried removing the screw and turning the shaft so that the flat parts are parallel to the pipe but after nothing happened i assumed I was doing it wrong. I've given it another go but I think I might just end up making it my letting agents problem.
posted by demagnetized at 2:47 PM on January 4, 2012

Use a wrench and not pliers.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:47 PM on January 4, 2012

You can also just use the handle from a similar type valve. As an added note - handles like these are taken off for a reason. Think carefully about whether you really want to open the valve before you do anything. I'd help you with your second question but it's not quite clear what you want to do.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:08 PM on January 4, 2012

Often, these 90° ball valves have a stamped metal handle but, one thing, is that they usually have a threaded shaft upon which the handle is affixed with a nut rather than a screw. Maybe this one is really old or something.
posted by bz at 3:29 PM on January 4, 2012

Chiming in again, it's a valve, missing it's handle. People take the handles off when they don't want random people turning the valve randomly.

You can leave the screw in, its only purpose is to hold the handle on.

You don't need to the handle to operate the valve; a[n adjustable] wrench across the flats on the shaft will do nicely.
posted by teatime at 2:46 AM on January 5, 2012

"its handle"
posted by teatime at 2:46 AM on January 5, 2012

BTW, it kindof looks like the kind of valve where the handle turns through multiple resolutions (which usually have a round handle), rather than the kind where the handle turns only 90 degrees (which usually have a flat handle).
posted by teatime at 2:48 AM on January 5, 2012

revolutions! wtf. I'm going to bed.
posted by teatime at 2:49 AM on January 5, 2012

I am pretty certain this is a gas test valve. You sure it's on a water pipe?
posted by v.barboni at 5:22 AM on January 6, 2012

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