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13 Of The Most Common Valves Used In Residential Plumbing

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 11 September 2019 00:44
Valves Valves Unsplash

Valves are used to stop and regulate the flow of water and other fluids or gases. All valves feature an inlet, an outlet, and an orifice or disc to close or moderate flow. In residential applications, numerous types of valves are used for different purposes, whether it’s controlling pressure and flow volume, turning flow on or off, or draining equipment.

With so many types of valves out there, it can be confusing to work out which valves are used for what purpose. Learn about some of the most widely used valves in residential plumbing below; once you’re familiar with these, you could even try DIY plumbing yourself.

1. Ball valve

Like gate valves, ball valves (also known as float valves) are designed to be all or nothing in operation: you either open it for full flow or shut it for closed flow. This type of valve features a ball with a hole in the middle, and the ball is connected to an outer handle for an on-off operation. The hole allows water to flow through when the valve is open.

2. Globe valve

Globe valves are typically used where flow needs to be regulated or needs regular adjustment. They feature a stopper that’s raised or lowered by a knob on a shaft, and the stopper seals into a baffle to shut off flow. In residential applications, globe valves are often used for outdoor faucet like hose bibs.

3. Gate valve

Also referred to as sluice valves, gate valves are used to turn the flow on or off completely. Typically, these valves are used at the connection point between the mainline and a branch line, for example, to stop or start the flow into a house. They feature an internal gate that’s raised or lowered through manual operation of a handle, but they’re not suitable for throttling or adjusting the flow as the gate can be damaged when partially open.

4. Fixture shut-off valve

Also known as stop valves, fixture shut-off valves are designed specifically to act as a stop to help turn on or off water flow to individual plumbing fixtures like sinks or toilets. This type of valve can feature a ball, gate, or globe mechanism, and they always have a 90-degree-angle or straight twist handle or knob for manual operation.

5. Pressure reducing valve

Pressure reducing valves automatically reduce and throttle water pressure on the downstream side of the pipeline to a given limit, without the need for manual intervention. Usually, they feature a spring and diaphragm that can be adjusted to certain limits. For example, in a high-rise building, this valve can moderate pressure to avoid damage to equipment and appliances.

6. Pressure relief valve

Pressure relief valves are used to maintain head-on pumping mains for flow to high-level areas. They relieve any excess pressure from the pressure vessel or fluid line. In contrast, pressure reducing valves are designed to reduce the pressure in the hydraulic or pneumatic circuit.

7. Pressure sustaining valve

Pressure sustaining valves are similar to pressure reducing valves. This valve is used to maintain a minimum set pressure on the upstream side of the pipeline automatically without manual operation.

8. Check valve

Check valves are also known as non-return valves or reflux valves, and they’re typically used in water tanks or for water storage purposes. This type of valve is designed to keep the flow moving exclusively in one direction and prevent flow in the opposite direction, especially wastewater flowing back into supply.

9. Flap valve

Flap valves are a type of check valve, but they feature a single hinged door or flap that has the valve closed when hanging freely. When there’s flow, the flap swings open and the velocity of flow - along with weight and disposition of the flap - determines how widely the flap opens.

10. Scour valve

Also known as blow-off valves, scour valves can be any suitable type of valve used to scour, empty, or clean the mains and/or empty a water tank. By opening the valve, users can clear out sediment and drain the line or tank for cleaning, maintenance, and repairs.

11. Bypass valve

Bypass valves are designed to relieve any imbalances in pressure on sluice valve gates. They’re installed in bypass piping used for backup-purposes or bypass piping used to supplement the effect of pressure-reducing valves and traps.

12. Air valve

Air valves or air-release valves are used at high points of pressure pipelines. They help with automatically releasing air when the pipeline is being filled and allowing air back in when the pipeline is being emptied.

13. Angle valve

Angle valves are used at the water-intake point of appliances or plumbing fixtures, and they’re used to shut off the water. This type of valve is manually operated.

The critical role of valves

Choosing the right valve for a specific residential pipeline, appliance, or piece of equipment allows households to control and manage the flow of water. Appropriate, effective maintenance of flow not only supports convenience and comfort when using water and disposing of it, but it’s vital for appliances and fixtures.

The correct valves could ensure appliances, fixtures, and equipment work as intended and achieve a maximum life cycle. Using appropriate valves could also eliminate the need for costly repairs and unnecessary maintenance. By opting for the most appropriate valves, households could optimize reliability, efficiency, and safety for any fixture, appliance, or equipment relying on water flow.

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