Valves are one of the most essential and frequently-used parts of any plumbing system. A valve is a piece of equipment that is fitted onto a pipe in order to direct and regulate any fluids flowing through the pipe. There are many different types of valves, and in this article our team will discuss some of the most commonly-used types of plumbing valves. If you need advice on which type of valve will work best for your plumbing job, please contact us today.
One of the most reliable types of valves, ball valves are used for main water shut-offs. There’s no in between with ball valves, meaning the valve will either be fully open or fully closed. These valves are constructed with a ball that has a hole in the middle, and it’s connected to a lever handle on the outside. Ball valves are low-maintenance, strong, and very efficient.
Gate valves regulate water flow by lowering or raising the gate across the inside of the pipe. When a gate valve is fully closed, no liquids can pass through the pipe, vs when it’s open and liquid can flow freely. These valves are typically found in older plumbing systems, and should only be used infrequently. Gate valves are prone to erosion, and if the wheel to open and close the valve is located in a cramped space, it can be difficult to operate.
Similar to ball valves, butterfly valves are operated by an external handle. These valves have a rotating disc inside that works to restrict and direct water flow, and they’re very precise in adjusting water flow. Even when a butterfly valve is fully open you’ll notice water flow is restricted slightly, because the disc takes up space and the water must flow around it.
These valves are most commonly used in commercial and industrial plumbing, and are not often found in residential plumbing systems.