Question from James Divers, via e-mail:
I always dread a gate valve not opening again to allow the water through. I know it’s caused by silt on the gate jamming the mechanism and in the past I have had to drain the feeder tank to fit a new valve. Is there a trick to opening the valve without all the expensive hassle?
Answer from Steve Harris – technical services engineer at Wavin:
Gate valves have been a problem for many years because lime scale and other debris collect within the valve.
A corroded valve when shut off can sometimes snap the spindle and then never open back up again. This then means the main header tank has to be syphoned off so the valve can be replaced.
Installing a good quality gate valve, such as one from Hep2O® will reduce the risk of snapping. However, a little tip that I learnt when shutting off any gate valve is to have the taps open so the water is flowing through the valve. Then close the valve off gently and open it back up again, this will help break up any debris within the valve and the water flowing through it will instantly wash debris away.
Closing and opening the valve several times will hopefully help the valve open again when you need it to, having been closed tightly to completely stop the water.