What is a Valve Key Wrench and How is it Used?

Gate valves and valve wheels are very common fixtures in numerous industries. They are used as a main control valve and are not necessarily opened or closed all the way. An example of this kind of a valve in a residence is the one that controls the main water supply into the house. In some cases, especially in industries, these valves need special wrenches for operation. These wrenches are called keys. Having a valve key ensures that unauthorized personnel do not operate them. The tool that is used to either open or close a key such as this one is called a valve key wrench. The main purpose of the valve wheel wrench or valve key is to assist the operating in opening the valve. This allows stuck or difficult to turn valves to be opened and safely. In the oil and gas industry, particularly in Australia, a high emphasis is placed on safety. The valve wheel wrench can drastically reduce down time caused by wrist injuries and repetitive strain caused to operators constantly opening valves.
The unique surgrip style of fitting as seen on the Titan and Petol tools minimises the chances of the wrench slipping. Another great safety feature is seen on the non sparking tools made from aluminium and other alloys.

A T-style wrench key is used to turn valves that are buried under ground level. These valves do not generally have manual controls and are very commonly fitted on gate valves. These buried valves are installed by municipalities or even in lawns on private properties. The handle that is used to operate such as valve is T-shaped, thus the name. A valve key wrench is very different from this, in that it is used to operate an exposed valve. As the name suggests a valve key provides additional security.

There are different types of valve keys and consequently the wrenches that are used to open them are different as well. The Telescope key is used in steam or sewer tunnels and a valve key is used to operate it. This key is specifically called a telescope valve key. A fire hydrant valve key is another variety. The large bolt that is attached to the top of a fire hydrant is connected to a long rod that is attached to a gate valve. The latter is positioned right above the water mains. This is done to ensure a direct and large amount of water supply in the event of a fire.

The keys that are used to operate valves such as these are as important as the valves themselves. They are available as part of the entire valve assembly and can be ordered separately as well. The quality of the key generally matches the quality and the material of the valve and is very durable. Another variety is the lid key. It is similar to a T-style key in that it has a T-shaped handle. The main difference is that the space where the wrench intersects with the gate valve is a more complicated one.

The end of the key is generally forked. In some cases, it might contain a rod or flange that is unusually shaped. This itself is the key and it prevents the gate valve from unauthorized access. A hand wheel key is designed specifically to provide extra leverage to the handles of gate valves. Most gate valves are structured with round handles. Years of exposure to extreme climate or even the elements and moisture can make them very difficult to open. A hand wheel key fits snugly into either the spokes or the rims and provides the added leverage that is required to operate these valves.

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