Types of Shut-Off Valves


Shut-off valves are essential for any home as they help stop water flow in case of an emergency. Without a shut-off valve, it would be impossible to carry out plumbing tasks and even a small leak would require immediate attention. Ranging from main valves that control the water flow of the entire house to inline valves that are used in sinks and toilets, shut-off valves come in different shapes and sizes. Read on for more information regarding the various types of shut-off valves.

1. Ball Valves

Ball valves are commonly used in residential fixtures such as toilets and kitchen appliances. These are straight lever valves that rotate only 90 degrees to regulate the flow of water. They are easy to use and are more durable than other types of shut-off valves.

The valve consists of a rotating ball with a hole in its centre. When the water is shut off, the hole remains perpendicular to the water pipeline. When the lever is rotated, however, the hole becomes parallel to the pipe and allows the water to pass through. The water flow can be controlled by partially or completely opening the valve. Ball valves come in various sizes and you can purchase a small one for sinks or a larger one for the entire house. It all depends upon your specific needs.

2. Gate Valves

Gate valves are typically used to control the water flow in large pipes. Their main advantages include a laminar flow with excellent closing features. Such valves are effective in turning water on and off though the pipeline, but they are not efficient in controlling the flow of water. The valve consists of a wheel that regulates a control gate when turned. This gate prevents or allows the water to pass through it depending on which way the wheel is turned.

A gate valve is great if you just want to be able to turn the water on and off. If you need a valve that regulates the water flow, however, it would not be the best plumbing solution. Keep in mind that it is hard to determine whether the valve is open or closed unless the wheel is turned a certain way. You should also try not to leave the valve closed for too long, as this could cause it to seize.

3. Stop Valves

Stop valves are used for starting or stopping water in smaller pipes. They work in the same manner as the gate valves. When the handle is turned counterclockwise, the valve closes because the washer attached to it is pressed towards the bottom. This creates a seal that stops water from passing through. Because the washer will wear down with continuous use, this valve may leak and require more replacements more frequently than other types of valves.

Stop valves come in different varieties. You might purchase an angle stop valve (which is often used under the sinks), a straight stop valve (which is useful for pipes that come through the floor), or a compression stop valve (which regulates water in copper pipes).

4. Globe Valves

Globe valves are ideal for frequent use and help regulating water flow. They consist of a hand wheel that shuts off water with a rounded disc or baffle. Globe valves are quite useful, but keep in mind that they are not suitable for pipes that require unobstructed water flow.

5. Check Valves

Check valves help prevent back-flow. They utilize a flapper or disc that swings in a way that only allows the water to flow in one specific direction. Such valves operate automatically and it is hard to determine the position of the valve as it is installed in a closed area.

These valves mentioned above are are frequently used to regulate or stop water in residential fixtures. Before buying any valve, it is important to understand its suitability for a particular fixture. If you are working with metal pipes, for instance,  consider buying metal valves. For PVC or plastic pipes, on the other hand, you should buy PVC valves. Whatever valve you choose, make sure that the material it is made of as well as its advantages and disadvantages line up with your needs.