8 Types of Water Valves for Home Plumbing

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The purpose of most water valves is to restrict all or part of the flow of water through pipes. Water valves come in different designs, depending mainly on where and how the valve is used. This can be a simple faucet valve that stops the flow of water through the faucet, or it can be more complicated, e.g. construction.

The different types of water valves can be difficult to distinguish at first, but taking the time to familiarize yourself with these important plumbing fixtures will help you better understand the uses and designs of each type.

1. Gate valve

Types of water valves - gate valves

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Gate valves are one of the most widely used water valves for general and residential plumbing. As the first type of valve, patented in America in 1839, gate valves have since been used as main shut-off valves, shut-off valves, hot water storage valves and more. Gate valves have an inner gate valve that can be lowered to reduce or completely stop the flow of water when the circular handle is slowly turned.

These types of water valves allow the user to control the specific flow of water instead of simply switching between open and closed positions. Due to the controlled opening and closing mechanism, gate valves are ideal for homes with recurring water hammer problems. It should be noted, however, that heavy use can cause the stem and valve nut to loosen, causing leaks. Alternatively, if the valve is never used, it may become stuck and rendered unusable.

Best For: Gate Valves, one of the most popular types of residential water valves, can be used as main shut-off valves, shut-off valves, hot water storage valves, and more.

Our Recommendation: THEWORKS 3/4 inch Gate Valve – Get it at The Home Depot for $ 12.99.
This reliable, corrosion-resistant brass gate valve is suitable for installation on a 3/4 ”water line with 3/4” MIP adapters.

2. Stop valve or stop valve

Types of water valves - globe valve, shut-off valve

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Stop valves are not often seen on commonly used 1/2 “or 3/4” water pipes, but they are an excellent option for water pipes 1 “or larger in diameter. These valves tend to be larger than gate valves due to their bulky internal construction. They have a horizontal inner wall with an opening that can be partially blocked or completely blocked by a plug that can be raised or lowered by turning the round handle of the valve.

Similar to gate valves, gate valves are a good choice if the user is looking for precise control of the water flow. Also, because the plug can be slowly lowered or raised, it is easier to prevent water hammer in homes that usually have this recurring problem.

Ideal For: As a good alternative to gate valves for larger plumbing in residential buildings, gate valves are best used to reduce problems with water hammer.

Our Recommendation: Milwaukee Valve Class 125 Globe Valve – Get it at Grainger for $ 100.
The durable bronze construction of this 1-inch globe valve makes it an excellent choice for use in large residential HVAC systems.

3. Check valve

Types of water valves - check valve

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While a check valve doesn’t look like a typical valve and may not even have the same ability to stop the flow of incoming water, a check valve doesn’t make a check valve any less important to the plumbing system. This type of valve is specifically designed to allow water to flow through the inlet side of the valve. The force of the incoming water presses open a hinged disc and ensures that the water pressure is not reduced by the valve. However, the same hinged disc prevents water from flowing in the opposite direction through the valve as any force exerted on the disc will simply push the disc shut.

Check valves are regularly used to prevent backflow into the plumbing system, which can lead to cross-contamination problems between different plumbing fixtures and devices. Backflow can occur when the pressure in a pump, sprinkler system, or water tank is lower than the pressure in the main water system. Installing a check valve can prevent this problem.

Best For: Use non-return valves to prevent backflow in pumps, safety applications, sprinkler systems, and any other residential piping where there is a risk of continuous or intermittent backflow.

Our Recommendation: SharkBite 1/2 inch Check Valve – Get the Home Depot for $ 16.47.
The simple installation method of this SharkBite check valve makes it easy for even beginners to quickly install a check valve on 1/2-inch piping.

4. Ball valve

Types of water valves - ball valve

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The second most common valve in domestic plumbing systems is known as a ball valve. These valves are typically more reliable than gate valves and are not prone to leakage or seizure, but over time they do not provide the same precise control of water flow as a gate valve.

Ball valves consist of a lever that can be rotated by only 90 degrees. This lever controls a hollow hemisphere within the valve. When the lever is aligned with the valve, the hemisphere retracts, allowing full flow of water through the valve. When the lever is perpendicular to the valve, the hemisphere completely blocks the flow of water through the valve and it is easy to turn the water on and off but control the flow.

Best For: Ball valves are widely used in plumbing because they are more reliable and easy to use than gate valves.

Our recommendation: Everbilt 3/4 inch ball valve – get the Home Depot for $ 13.70.
Made from heavily forged brass, this lead-free ball valve is specially designed for soldering on 3/4 inch copper piping for reliable water line control.

5. Butterfly valve

Types of water valves - butterfly valve

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The flap valve takes its name from the rotating disc it contains. This disc has a thick center that holds the valve stem and a thin fin or wing on either side that mimics the basic look of a butterfly. When the control lever is rotated, it rotates the disc and allows it to partially or fully restrict the flow of water through the valve.

These valves are commonly used on water pipes 3 inches or more in diameter, so they are rarely seen in plumbing. The size and design of these valves are also more expensive than other residential valves.

Best For: Butterfly valves are very rarely used in typical residential applications, and the large size of the valves makes them best for commercial, institutional, and industrial piping.

Our Recommendation: Milwaukee Valve Lug-Style Butterfly Valve – Get it at Grainger for $ 194.78.
This cast iron butterfly valve is designed for 3-inch diameter plumbing only and is an excellent option for commercial mechanical and industrial systems such as hot and cold domestic water control.

6. Pressure relief valve

Types of water valves - pressure relief valve

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A relief valve is another plumbing fixture called a valve that doesn’t work like a normal water valve. Rather than restricting or preventing the flow of water through the system, a pressure relief valve is designed to protect the water system by releasing steam and hot water when the pressure within the system becomes too high.

These valves are typically used on hot water tanks to prevent overheating, bursting and deformation from excessive pressure. They have a spring mechanism in the valve that reacts to the pressure and compresses when the pressure is too high. Compressing the spring opens the valve to release steam and water, which reduces or relieves pressure in the system.

Best For: Designed specifically to protect the home’s plumbing system, users can reduce the pressure in the hot water tank by installing a pressure relief valve.

Our Recommendation: Turn 3/4 inch relief valve – Get the Home Depot for $ 18.19.
Use this 3/4-inch brass pressure relief valve to prevent the hot water tank from overheating, breaking or deforming.

7. Supply shut-off valve

Types of water valves - inlet shut-off valve

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A special type of valve, supply shut-off valves, can sometimes also be called supply inlet or outlet valves. They have been specially developed for use with sanitary fittings such as toilets, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines. In addition, these valves are available in a variety of styles including straight, angled, compressed, and quarter turn, leaving it up to the user to choose the best shut-off valve for the current pipeline configuration.

These valves are easily identified on the toilet water supply line and are used to stop the flow of water to certain plumbing fixtures and appliances. Using reliable shut-off valves to isolate the plumbing equipment and fixtures in the house makes repairs and full maintenance much easier.

Best For: There is usually a shut-off valve on a supply line for the toilet, refrigerator, dishwasher, sink, and washing machine.

Our Recommendation: BrassCraft 1/2 Inch Angle Valve – Get it at The Home Depot for $ 7.87.
Control the flow of water to household plumbing fixtures with this 1/2-inch x 3/8-inch 90-degree angle stop valve.

8. Faucet valve

Types of water valves - faucet valve

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Another type of specialty valve, faucet valves, come in a variety of styles, although each is intended to control the flow of water through a faucet, bathtub, or shower. Some designs include ball valves, cartridges, ceramic discs, and compression valves.

  • Ball valves are simple and reliable mechanisms that either turn the water on or off with little margin for flow management.
  • Cartridge valves are most commonly used in showers to control the flow of water by turning them to open or close the passage to the shower head.
  • Ceramic disc valves consist of two ceramic discs rotating against each other. If the holes in the top and bottom washers are aligned, water can flow through the valve, but if the holes are misaligned the flow of water will be restricted or stopped entirely.
  • Compression valves use a rod and a plug to seal a hole known as a valve seat.
  • Globe valves are a good example of a compression valve.

Best For: This type of valve is typically only used to control the flow of water on a sink faucet, although it can also be used on appliance plumbing.

Our Recommendation: Moen 2-Handle 3-Hole Pan Valve – Get it at The Home Depot for $ 106.89.
Update the faucet valves on the tub with these 2-handle, 3-hole Roman tub faucet valves that use 1/2 inch copper tubing to connect the two valves and the faucet outlet line.

The prices listed here correspond to the status of publication on October 14, 2021.

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