A valve in plumbing is a device which is used to control the passage and flow of liquid or water from one place to another, usually through the channel or pipe. There are several types of valves that are used depending upon the application. Once the application is decided than the material of the valve comes into the picture. This is important because all every material is not suitable for all types of fittings. In the following post we will understand the types of valves used in the plumbing and its application.
A ball valve is made up of a ball with a hole which is fitted in the pipe. This is operated through a handle that is attached to the ball. When the ball is perpendicular to the pipe the flow of water is stopped and when the hole is parallel to the pipe the water is allowed to flow. Although it is difficult to control the flow of water through the ball valve, but it allows an excellent seal when closed. These are fairly inexpensive and are made up of brass, bronze, copper ductile iron, stainless steel, and several types of plastics.
As the name suggests it is a gate made of piece of metal which is controlled by the wheel or knob to control the flow of water through the pipe. They are better in regulating the flow of water, however has a practical issue while in operation. Unlike Ball Valve where user can judge the Open or close position of the valve just by the position of the handle, it is difficult in case of gate valve. These are usually vulnerable to corrosion and may jam if not used for a longer duration.
Like ball valves the butterfly valves have a disc inside the pipe which is operated by the lever. The disc is of the same diameter as of the pipe and turning the lever causes the disc to move and regulate the flow of water. They usually require a gasket in its configuration which requires maintenance from time to time. Also some pressure of the water is controlled while using the butterfly valve as the disc obstruct the minor flow of the water when in use. They are usually used when the diameter of the pipe is more than 2″ (50mm).
Like gate valve, the diaphragm valve has an element in the fitting that is controlled by the wheel or knob to control the flow of the water. The element settles down over the saddle to control the flow of water. These are used as shut off valves and are of two types- weir and straight types. The weir type valve is capable of controlling the flow of water as it needs the water to pass the half dam while the straight type valve cannot control the pressure of the water.
These are needed when the full flow of water is not needed as they are capable of controlling the pressure of the water. They are controlled by the wheel or knob on the shaft to raise or lower the stopper to control the water.
Check valve allows the water to flow in one direction only. Mostly seen in hot water systems where there are more than two kind of water in supply network and we don’t want either or both to be mixed together.
Pressure Balanced Valve
These are mostly used in showers and bathtubs to maintain the water temperature. These valves allow both hot and cold water to flow from them. If the pressure changes from one source of the pipe the valve allow the other source to balance the temperature so that the user gets controlled temperature of the water.
To control the heating or cooling of a specific room or floor or a zone within the central system these types of valves are used. Usually, zone valves are electrically controlled and are connected to the thermostat for automatic control.
Nearly all the valves can be locked to avoid accidental operation, however, the ones with lever type handles gives more secure locking system. They provide the holes so that a lock can be passed through the valve to stop the operation.
Solenoid valves are electrically controlled valves that can provides on or off control through automation system. These are used in buildings where central system controls plumbing or HVAC system
These are named due to their 90 degree angle design. These are used to stop the water flow at the inlet end on the plumbing fixture. These are not recommended where the flow of water is high.
Backwater Check Valve
Like heck valve they are also designed to control the direction of the water. Usually used at the sewer line and is used to control the flow of sewage water backwards.
These are type of check valves which are used when there is a space constraint. A wafer valve is made up of a thin disc that is fastened in the center or the top or can be spring loaded in the center. The valve is held at both ends of the fittings by the flanges.
This is used to control the flow of the LPG or natural gas and is mostly found in the kitchen gas supply line.
Pressure Reducing Valve
These are installed to minimize the water pressure up to the desired limits. The spring or the diaphragm is adjusted to get the desired pressure. Hey can be made up of copper, PVC or other different pipe types and are long lasting if maintained properly.
Air release Valve
They are installed to remove the water hammer issues and protect the pipelines from internal pressure. They can be installed in copper or ductile iron pipes through a small opening.
This has two chambers, the upper chamber and the lower chamber. When the valve is not in use both the chambers are filled with water in equal proportion. When the handle attached to the system is pressed, the water is allowed to flow from the upper chamber. Once the upper chamber is emptied the diaphragm placed on the lower chamber is pushed up allowing the water to fill the upper chamber.
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