4 Common Plumbing Valves and How They’re Used

4 Common Plumbing Valves and How They’re Used

If you’ve ever needed a plumber in Charlotte, you might have started thinking more about the plumbing industry.  Maybe you even though a bit about the different types of tools and equipment that are frequently used. This is especially true if you’ve had some issues with plumbing valves in your home or business. Plumbing valves are mechanisms that control the flow of water. Different styles of valves are used for different things. The one thing they all have in common is that when one fails, you usually end up with a leak. How significant that leak is, depends on the amount of pressure going through that particular water line, the type of valve in question, and whether or not it is a total failure of the line or if it is just starting to show the first signs of a problem. Below is a list of common plumbing valves, as well as the types of situations where you might typically find them.

4 Common Plumbing Valves and How They’re Used

1. Ball Valve

This is unquestionably one of the most common types of plumbing valves in residential construction. Just as the name implies, the valves utilize a mechanism that is frequently referred to as a ball mechanism to control the flow of water in a pipe. Your faucet utilizes a ball valve. When you turn on either the cold water or the hot water, the particular ball valve that corresponds to the faucet handle your using allows water to flow freely through the faucet and into the sink. When you turn the faucet off, the valve then stops the water from flowing. That’s why you sometimes must replace your faucet because as these valves wear, they also get to the point where they allow a small amount of water to leak past them even when the faucet is turned off.

4 Common Plumbing Valves and How They’re Used

2. Butterfly Valve

This type of valve essentially accomplishes the same thing, but it goes about it in a different way. Instead of having a ball mechanism that floats up to block the flow of water from the pipe, this valve turns at 90-degree angles inside the pipe. That allows the butterfly valve to completely close off the opening, thereby stopping the flow of water. When the valve is engaged, it moves at a 90-degree angle, allowing water to flow freely through it.

It’s typically used in areas where a much larger flow of water and subsequent increase in water pressure is required. Therefore, you’re not as likely to see these types of valves in residential areas, but you do frequently find them in commercial buildings as well as in standpipes.

4 Common Plumbing Valves and How They’re Used

3. Needle Valve

These types of valves are much more precise in their operation. In fact, they’re frequently used to control the amount of water pressure in a certain area, thereby controlling the amount of water that can flow. Needle valves can diminish the amount of water flowing through a designated area without completely stopping it. Whereas the two valves discussed above either allow water to flow or completely stop it, the needle valve can be used to either increase or decrease the flow of water as needed.

4 Common Plumbing Valves and How They’re Used

4. Gate Valve

A gate valve is typically found in areas where large amounts of water need to be controlled by either allowing it to flow freely or impeding its flow entirely. This type of valve is almost strictly used for turning the water flow on or off, so it doesn’t really come into play when you’re talking about controlling the amount of water involved. As opposed to controlling water pressure, it merely controls whether or not water is allowed to flow through a certain area.

As you can see, there are a lot of different types of valves involved when it comes to the plumbing business. This merely touches the surface, as there are still many more that can be used in specific situations. The next time that you have a need to contact a plumber, this knowledge might make it easier to understand why they frequently want to see the problem for themselves before they tell you how long it’s likely to take to fix it or how much it will probably cost. A lot of it depends on exactly what is involved, and that’s something they can’t always tell without taking a look for themselves.