Types of Valves in Plumbing System

Valves are employed in residential and commercial buildings, water supply systems, wastewater treatment plants, and chemical plants to direct the flow, shut off water access, prevent backflow, and adjust water pressure within a system.

Types of Valves in Plumbing System
Types of Valves in Plumbing System


Valves are mechanical devices used to control, direct, and regulate the flow of water by opening, closing, or partially obstructing the flow. They can be made up of different materials like bronze, PVC, brass, etc.

Types of Valves

1. Gate Valve

Gate valve is the most widely used type of valve in plumbing systems. It includes a wedge-shaped metal gate that can be lowered (with the use of a twist-type handle or knob) to stop the flow of water or raised to allow the flow to continue.

Gate valves cannot control the water flow as they are designed to be fully opened or fully closed. If used to adjust the water flow, it can wear out the valves. 

Advantages of Gate Valves

The gate inside the valve retracts entirely into the body, due to which the valve does not impede the water flow.

Due to the slow opening and closing of the valve, the water pressure is modified gradually, which protects the pipe from the banging sound of the water hammer. 

Disadvantages of Gate Valves

Due to repeated usage, the valve's seat can wear down, thereby weakening the valve's seal and reducing the valve's efficiency.

The raising and lowering of the valve can only be operated manually, which can be time-consuming.

2. Butterfly Valve

This valve has a rotating metal disc that allows and inhibits the water flow, creating an image similar to that of a butterfly due to which is called a butterfly valve.

These valves are very compact, light, and relatively short, making them significantly lighter than the other types.

Types of Butterfly Valves

Double offset butterfly valve

Triple offset butterfly valve

Flanged ends and more.

Advantages of Butterfly Valves

Butterfly valves are lighter and less expensive than ball valves.

Due to their compact size, they are prevalent in industrial applications. 

Disadvantages of Butterfly Valves

Butterfly valves rely on a gasket which eventually needs to be replaced.

The butterfly disk which regulates the flow lies within the water (even when fully opened), due to which pressure drop is observed.

Butterfly valves are less durable and slower to operate.

3. Ball Valve

Ball valves are the most reliable and common type of valves used to regulate the flow of water. It involves a rotating sphere with a hole that is attached to a lever handle to operate the valve.

Types of Valves in Plumbing System
Types of Valves in Plumbing System

In the open position, the hole in the sphere is in line with the pipe, allowing the water to flow through it. When in a closed position, the hole in the sphere is perpendicular to the pipe, thus completely restricting the water flow. The lever handle also serves as an indicator of whether the valve is open or closed. When the lever is perpendicular to the pipe, the valve is closed.

Types of Ball Valves

3 Way ball valve

Three-piece body

Trunnion mounted ball valve

Floating ball valve

Side entry or split body

Advantages of Ball Valves

They provide an excellent seal in a closed position.

Ball valves are lighter and smaller than gate valves of the same size and rating.

Disadvantage of Ball Valves

Ball valves do not permit precise flow control because they usually have positive stops (0, 45, 90 degrees).

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