FM Articles

Plumbing System Updates – Using the Right Valves for Your Application


When it comes to shutting off, limiting, or controlling flow in a plumbing system, PVC valves are the go-to product to make it happen. Although valves play a vital part in plumbing systems, selecting the correct PVC valve for the job can be incredibly frustrating. This is mostly due to the fact that different valves perform similar tasks. In order to select the correct valve for your application, you will need to know what certain valves do, where they work best and what makes them unique.Plumbing

PVC Valves & Use
Valves are primarily used for either regulating or shutting off flow. Some valves have the ability to perform both of these functions. Common valves used in plumbing systems are PVC ball valves, check valves, gate valves, diaphragm valves, and butterfly valves.

PVC Ball Valve – PVC ball valves are possibly one of the best examples of a shut off valve. They utilize a spherical seating as a means to allow or stop flow. The ball itself has a hole located in its center, which allows fluid to pass through it whenever the handle is turned on. If the handle is turned off at 90 degrees, the fluid will hit the side of the ball (the solid side) and the fluid will be stopped.

PVC ball valves utilize rubber O-rings in order to make the seal tight. These O-rings can be made from many different types of rubber, depending on what temperatures and chemicals they will come in contact with. PVC ball valves are an excellent example of a shut-off valve because they do just that: shut off.

PVC Check Valves – Check valves are labeled as regulatory valves because they can control the direction of flow. Common types of check valves are ball check valves and swing check valves. Ball check valves utilize a ball to prevent backflow and swing check valves utilize a swing function as a means to prevent backflow. Instead of using handles to open or close, check valves are activated by water flowing either with or against them. Both types of check valves open when fluid is going the intended direction, but will close abruptly if any backflow occurs.

PVC Gate Valves – Gate valves can function as regulatory valves and shut off valves. These valves utilize a “gate” that controls flow. Whenever the gate is opened, it goes up into the upper section of the valve (which explains their unique, tall design.) Gate valves also utilize a hand wheel (as opposed to a 90-degree handle) which makes it much easier to precisely control flow. Gate valves are often made with true union designs. True union valves have removable ends, making them easier to separate from a pipeline for repairs, cleaning, or maintenance.

Diaphragm Valves – Although diaphragm valves may not be the most popular valves on the market, they serve a unique purpose for flow control. Diaphragm valves are categorized as regulatory valves because they have the best value when it comes to limiting pressure. These valves control flow with a diaphragm that either rises or lowers for a small amount of fluid to pass through.

PVC Butterfly Valves – A PVC butterfly valve has the ability to perform as a regulatory valve or a shut off valve. By having the ability to regulate, PVC butterfly valves can limit flow (as opposed to being simply turned on or off.) This can be incredibly helpful if you’re looking to decrease pressure in your system. If you’re looking to only turn on or off a flow, PVC butterfly valves can perform that task as well. However, due to their design, ball valves are better shut-off valves than butterfly valves.

PVC Valves & Your Needs
In addition to choosing the proper type of valve for your plumbing system, you will need to determine the correct valve size that you’ll need. Valve measurements rely on the pipe size, material, and operating flow. If you’re looking to have zero pressure drop, a larger valve may be needed.

Although deciding which valve to use for your plumbing system may seem difficult, knowing the function of each valve will help to determine which valve meets your needs.

Amanda Hill is the Head of Marketing at Commercial Industrial Supply, a commercial / industrial supplier & distributor of valves nationwide. Since 2009, CIS has been dedicated to supplying the best quality valve products to customers.