Shut-off valves are critical in controlling the water supply to various parts of your home or building. They allow you to isolate specific sections, making repairs and maintenance easier. Let’s dive into the most common types of shut-off valves.
Ball valves are characterized by their rotating ball inside the valve body. This ball has a hole through it, and when the handle aligns the hole with the water flow, it allows water to pass through. The 90-degree turn of the handle makes it easy to open or close the valve. They’re highly durable and reliable, making them perfect for main water shutoffs and branch line shutoffs.
Gate valves work by using a metal gate that moves up and down within the valve body. When the gate is lifted, water flows freely; when it’s lowered, the water flow stops. These valves provide an excellent seal when closed but are more prone to wear and tear over time compared to ball valves. Gate valves are often used for main water shutoffs in older homes.
Globe valves get their name from their globular-shaped body. They control the water flow by using a plug that moves up and down within the valve body, restricting or allowing the flow. They are great for regulating water flow but can be less durable compared to ball valves. You can find globe valves in applications where precise flow control is needed, such as under sinks and toilets.
Check valves ensure that water flows in one direction, preventing backflow and protecting your water supply from contamination. Here are the most common types of check valves.
Swing Check Valves
Swing check valves consist of a disc that swings on a hinge, allowing water to flow in one direction. When water flows in the opposite direction, the disc swings shut, stopping the backflow. They’re commonly used in residential and commercial applications, such as sump pumps and sewage systems.
Wafer Check Valves
Wafer check valves are compact and lightweight, making them ideal for tight spaces. They use a spring-assisted disc that opens when water flows in the correct direction and closes when the flow reverses. They are often found in industrial settings, such as chemical and power plants, where space is limited, and backflow prevention is crucial.
In-Line Check Valves
In-line check valves, also known as spring-loaded check valves, use a spring and a small disc to allow water flow in one direction. The spring-loaded design ensures a fast response to reverse flow, making them suitable for high-pressure applications. You can find these valves in residential water systems and industrial equipment, such as pumps and compressors.
Pressure Regulating Valves
Pressure regulating valves help maintain a consistent water pressure in your plumbing system. They come in various types, serving different purposes.
Pressure Reducing Valves
Pressure reducing valves (PRVs) lower the incoming water pressure to a safe and consistent level, protecting your plumbing fixtures from damage due to high pressure. They are typically installed near the main water supply entrance in homes and commercial buildings.
Pressure Relief Valves
Pressure relief valves (PRVs) are safety devices that release excess pressure from your plumbing system when it becomes too high. They prevent damage to pipes, fixtures, and appliances by releasing water when the pressure exceeds a predetermined threshold. PRVs are commonly found in water heaters and boilers to ensure safe operation.
Thermostatic valves help regulate the temperature of the water in your plumbing system. They are essential in maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient environment. Let’s explore the two main types of thermostatic valves.
Thermostatic Mixing Valves
Thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) blend hot and cold water to achieve a preset temperature. They are commonly used in showers and faucets to prevent scalding and ensure a consistent water temperature. TMVs also help save energy by reducing the demand for hot water.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) control the temperature of individual radiators in a heating system. They automatically adjust the flow of hot water to each radiator based on the room’s temperature, ensuring a comfortable environment, and reducing energy consumption. TRVs are ideal for homes and commercial buildings with central heating systems.