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Different Types of Water Valves and their Functions

BV631 Rim Mount Shower Diverter Valve

What are valves mainly used for?

Whether they are water or gas pipes there needs to be a way of regulating how much fluid or gas can pass through them, or if need to completely stop the flow of the fluid or water. This is where valves come in. In essence, they are mechanical switches that can either turn the pipe on or off, or they can increase or lower the amount of fluid which flows through them.

You may not realize how common these essential devices are, for example when you are brushing your teeth. When you turn the tap (faucet) on you are opening open the valve to release pressurized water which escapes from the pipe. This also occurs when you flush the toilet, however, this does work slightly different as there are two valves. The first allows the water to escape by emptying the toilet bowl, and the second known as a ball valve increases the water flow to the tank in preparation for the next flush.

The different types of Water Valves

Ball Valve: this is one of the most common water valves that you will come across on the main water pipe. Typically its appearance is a large metal valve with a lever handle. The mechanism itself is designed for emergency or quick turn-offs if required. It usually is seen to be the main water shut-off for the home itself. If the valve is opened, the hole will be aligned with the direction of the water pipe which can then allow the water to flow. If the handle is closed the ball then rotates, so the ball is blocked to prevent water from coming out.

Butterfly Valve: This is a disk that is situated in the middle of a pipe and moves sideways if you want to let fluid pass or you move it upright which will block the flow of water completely.

Gate Valve: Their main function is to allow or block the flow of water, but not regulating the flow of the water – however you can find specifically designed ones for this purpose. They are quite often found on the pipe leading to the hot water boiler.

Globe Valve: Your taps in your home are the best examples of these, when you turn the handle you are screwing the valve upwards which then allows the pressurized water to move through the pipe and out of the water spout.

Angled Shut-off Valves: The main function of this valve is to allow the water to be shut off completely if you are in need of a small repair or replacement. This valve itself ensures that it doesn’t interrupt the water flow to the other areas.

Straight Fixture Shut-Off Valve: A relative to the above fixture and operates in exactly the same way, but its intended use is so that the water can run freely to the fixture. You will often see where the water pipes come up from the floor rather than the wall.