What is a Plumbing Valve?


Reviewed by: Hady Makhmalbaf Ph.D., PE, Sr. Mechanical Engineer

Valves are an important part of plumbing systems, and it is essential to understand their functions in order to keep your system working properly. There are many different types of valves, each with its own unique purpose. This article will help you learn more about the most common valves and how they work.

What is a plumbing valve?

A plumbing valve is a device that allows you to control the flow of water through a pipe. There are many different types of valves, each with its own unique purpose and function. Without plumbing valves, it would not be possible to maintain water pressure, control the temperature of the water, or shut off individual pipes for repair.

How does a plumbing valve work?

The basic concept behind a plumbing valve is similar to that of an ordinary valve. In order to control the flow of water through a pipe, a plumbing valve uses one or more mechanical parts, known as valves, that can open and close in order to either restrict or direct the flow of water. These valves are typically controlled by some type of handle, knob, or lever that allows you to manually open and close the valve as needed.

Types of plumbing valves

  • Gate valve – A gate valve is a shut-off valve that controls the flow of liquids and gases by opening or closing a gate. The gate is opened or closed by a rotating disk, wedge, or other mechanism attached to a handle.
  • Check valve – A valve that allows the fluid to only flow in one direction and blocks the flow in the opposite direction.
  • Ball valve – Similar to gate valves, ball valves use a ball instead of a disc to control the flow of water.
  • Butterfly valve – An alternative type of ball valve that uses a semicircular disc instead of a full circle disc. Butterfly valves are often used in larger pipe sizes, and for controlling the flow rate of liquids with high viscosity.
  • Globe valve – A valve that uses a sphere to control the flow of water. Globe valves are often used in commercial applications, as they can handle high pressures and temperatures with ease.
  • Pressure relief valve – a valve that releases excess pressure by opening a passage to an area of lower pressure. These valves are often used on heating systems and fire sprinkler systems. In plumbing, a similar type of valve (pressure reducing valve), is used when high inlet pressure from the city is above the code requirements or expected to harm the plumbing system.
  • Plug valve – a valve that uses a plug to control the flow of water. Plug valves are often used in applications where a large amount of water needs to be shut off quickly, such as in an emergency.
  • Pinch valve – a valve that uses two metal discs to pinch and control the flow of water. Pinch valves are often used in industrial applications, where they can be easily automated.
  • Shutoff valve – a valve that completely stops the flow of water. Shutoff valves are used in both residential and commercial settings and are often used to control the flow of water to individual appliances or fixtures.

What are the components of a plumbing valve?

A plumbing valve is a device used to regulate the flow of water in a piping system. There are many different types of valves, but many share some common components. The stem is the part of the valve that is turned to open or close the flow of water. The stem in many valve types is connected to a disk, which sits on top of the seat.

When the stem is turned to open the valve, the disk lifts off the seat and allows water to flow through. The seat is also connected to a gland, which helps to seal the valve shut when it is not in use. Finally, most valves have a handle or lever that is used to operate the stem. These are just a few of the components that make up a typical plumbing valve.

What are plumbing valve symbols?

Plumbing valve symbols are used to indicate the type of valve and its function. Below is an image of the different plumbing valve symbols.

Credit to kimray.com

The relationship between your plumbing valve and water meter

A water meter is a device that measures the amount of water passing through your pipes. In most cases, it is located near the street in a box or placed in the basement. The meter itself is usually a simple dial that is turned by the flow of water. As water passes through the pipes and into a home, the dial will turn and give a reading of how much water you have used. This reading is generally measured in gallons or cubic feet, depending on the type of water meter that you have.

A plumbing valve is important because it allows you to control the flow of water through your pipes and prevent any waste or leaks from occurring. In most cases, the valve will be located near the water meter and will be connected to the pipe that supplies water to a home. When you need to adjust the water pressure or shut off the flow of water for repairs, you can simply turn the valve in order to make any necessary changes. In some cases, a plumbing valve may also be connected to your sewer line or other waste lines in order to prevent any backups or overflows from occurring.

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