Perhaps, we have under-appreciated and underrated the role of plumbing valves. For your information, these valves play a very important role in controlling the flow of water in your home. Just like any other drainage system, you rarely get to see the control valves unless you are repairing them. Plumbing control valves are basically the devices placed in specific parts of building to control the flow of water. They are made in such a way that you can adjust them to regulate the water pressure or shut it down completely.
But where are they located? Plumbing valves are placed almost in the entire building. A simple utility control valve can enable a water firm to shut of water from an entire building. Water companies use them to control water usage and cut off buildings whose water bills haven’t been paid. Buildings are also equipped with plumbing valves to manage and maintain the flow of water in case of an issue. Smaller valves are spread across the pipes in the building to partition it’s sections.
Why are Plumbing Valves Important?
Just like it was mentioned earlier, plumbing control valves play an essential role in regulating and stoping water flow to various parts of the building. When there is pipe failure in specific areas of the building or when plumbing repairs are being done, control valves are needed to stop water from going that direction. Similarly, they are also needed to stop water flow when the system is being replaced. Plumbing valves are also needed by building managers to reduce damage levels during construction. Maintainance personnel and managers also need them to minimize the number of tenants that are affected during a system failure, replacement or repair. To understand how they work, let’s look at the different types of plumbing valves.
Types of Plumbing Valves
Discussed below are the difference types of plumbing valves and the functions they have.
The Main Water Valve
The main water shut off valve is the most important of all. This valve is responsible for supplying water to the entire residence. From here, water is evenly distributed to the pipes through the building. Just like any normal water system device, the main water valve can be clogged with grit and other mineral deposits. This is very dangerous because they can get damaged to levels where replacement is inevitable. Replacing them is a very complicated process and you will need the services of a professional plumber.
The Gate Valve
Used as main shut off valves, gate valves are one of the most commonly used in water systems. These type of valves are long lasting and reliable. It is important to note that they have a twist-type handle and only recommended for completely shutting off water supply or opening it fully. This is because when used to regulate water flow, they will wear out. As much as they are reliable, they could stick in the ‘on’ or ‘off’ position. There are mainly used in situations where water supply needs to be shut off completely. Gate valves are ideal for houses where large volume of water is used at a go.
The Ball Valve
These are also reliable valves used to shut off main water supply. Just like the gate valves, they can regulate the flow of water through closing and opening them. Ball valves are controlled through moving them 0 to 90 degrees. To get a clear picture of how they work, their lever being perpendicular means water is shut off, and when the lever is aligned, water flows. You can easily notice when the ball valve is on or off. Ball valves are important when it comes to regulating the water pressure in certain areas. When repair operations are going in certain areas of the building and water supply in those areas has been shut off, ball valves will evenly distribute water pressure to other sections of the house. This prevents more pressure from building up.
The Check Valve
These are very common valves and are found almost everywhere. Their function is often noticed when there is a sump pump in the basement. The check valves prevent back flow, allowing water to only flow in one direction. These are very unique valves because they don’t have control handles. Check valves are important in houses that have low pressure levels. When water is pumped from underneath and has to go all the way up, it could hardly come out at the other end due to low pressure levels. Consequently, it can easily flow backwards. The check valves prevent such issues from happening.
Pressure Reduction Valves
Their main function is regulating and reducing water pressure in a system. This is very important because they help reduce the water pressure coming into your house. These are also unique valves because they aren’t used to close or open water flow. You will always get pressure reduction valves in homes that have high water pressure. The most ideal location to install them is on the main water line, preferably close to the shut off valve. These valves play an important role especially in regulating water flow to certain areas through keeping it at a specific pressure. They can avert water overflows when there is plumbing repairs or replacements.
Fixture Shut Off Valve
These kind of valves are also known as stop valves.Their main function is controlling the water flow to various plumbing sections such as toilets and faucets. The advantage that comes with fixture shut off valves is that you can do repairs or replacements on a toilet without cutting off the water supply to the rest of the building. Fixture shut off valves are very important especially to professional plumbers because they don’t have to interfere with the rest of building’s water supply. They also help in keeping the sewerage pipes in place, reducing additional pressure that could be caused by the shut off toilet drainage system. They have an on and off lever that is easily visible and accessible.