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We’ve been using valves in our plumbing systems since the time of the Romans.
Today the basic concept remains the same, but a whole range of different types of valves have sprung up.
Each of the different types of valves used in plumbing is designed to offer distinct benefits. It’s important to understand the differences so that you can make an informed choice.
Read on as we take a look at some of the most common types of valves in plumbing.
As you might suspect from the name, a ball valve is essentially a ball with a hole drilled through the middle of it.
When that hole aligns with the flow of liquid or gas, it allows it to pass through. When the ball rotates so that the hole is perpendicular to the flow, then the valve is sealed off.
This is intended to be an all-or-nothing valve; either the flow is on or off, with no fine control in between. The handles of ball valves usually offer a useful indication of whether the valve is open or shut.
A butterfly valve contains a disc made to the exact diameter of the pipe. When the disc is perpendicular to the flow, the pipe is completely sealed by the disc.
Unlike with a ball valve, a butterfly valve allows you more control over the flow, which will increase as the disc rotates until it reaches a maximum when the disc is parallel to the flow.
Since the disc will still partially block the flow even when the valve is fully open, you will always get some pressure drop with a butterfly valve.
A check valve is also known as a one-way valve. Its purpose is to only allow gas or liquid to flow in one direction.
There are a number of different types of check valves, from ball check valves to those that use a diaphragm, each with its own pros and cons.
This is the most common type of valve used in plumbing.
The flow is controlled by raising and lowering a gate inside the valve. This is usually actuated by a rotating handle on top of the valve, although there are many other methods of operating a gate valve that you may need to know about.
One downside of this type of valve is that there is no way to know its status just by looking at the handle.
Globe valves work by lowering a stopper into a baffle that is built into the valve. This type of valve usually has a bulbous shape which is where they get their name from.
The stopper is typically raised and lowered by a rotating handle. These types of valves are good for regulating flow as well as completely stopping the flow so are commonly used in plumbing applications.
These Are Just Some of the Types of Valves in Plumbing
There are many different types of valves in plumbing. This list contains some of the most common, but there are plenty of other types you might come across. The important thing is to find the valve that is best suited to your particular needs.
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