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Ball Valves vs Gate Valves

A valve is a vital component in any plumbing system. They are used both to restrict and control the flow of water. There are all kinds of valves with a wide range of names and suggested uses but the two most common are the ball valve and the gate valve. We'll here discuss how each one works, what they are used for, and why they are different.

Ball Valve



The ball valve is appropriately named. Inside the valve is a ball with a hole cut right through the center. This ball is connected to the handle. When the part with the hole is parallel with the pipe itself, the water flow is unrestricted and flows freely. However, when the handle is turned 90� to the shutoff position, the hole is then perpendicular to the pipe and the water is blocked. Ball valves work well for applications where flow control is unnecessary but full shutoff is mandatory.

Gate Valve

The gate valve has much the same function as the ball valve in that it is used to restrict the flow of water; only the gate valve is generally used for larger applications. Again, the name explains the function. The "gate" is placed between two parallel plates, to hold it in place. This is then attached to a threaded stem, which is moved up or down by rotating a wheel. Many ball valves feature a rising stem, while others (usually underground) do not. Gate valves are not used for flow regulation, rather for shutoff.

Gate valves are more prone to corrosion than their ball valve counterparts. The "ball" in ball valves has a chrome outer layer, which helps prevent such corrosion. Rainforest Plumbing & Air keeps a well-stocked inventory of both gate and ball valves on-hand. So if you're having some trouble, give us a call today at (480) 615-7766 to schedule service!

Plumbing topics you might be interested in:
Leak Locating | Pipe Locating  | Re-Piping | Leaks | Leak Underground





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