When it comes to piping systems within the home, there are a number of different types of valves that are commonly utilized. Each type has its own distinct properties and is used in certain plumbing situations. Ensuring you have the correct type of valve for your home piping is important. Gate Valves, while not used extensively in residential / home applications, are found in homes under certain situations, such as in main water piping systems or irrigation systems.
Where Gate Valves are Used in the Home
Within the home, gate valves (such as these) are not commonly used. They are considerably more common in the industrial sector. However, gate valves can be occasionally seen in the home’s main water shutoff valve or outdoor water spigot.
Main Water Shutoff Valve
In older homes it’s common to find a gate valve as your main water shutoff valve. These valves control the flow of water throughout your home, and when the valve is moved to the “off” position, the flow of water through the valve is completely stopped by a gate closure within the valve. This type of valve is perfect for slowly reducing the water flow rather than an immediate shut off.
As a word of caution, these types of valves are meant to be positioned either on or off and should not be used to adjust the pressure of the flow of water, as they will wear down too quickly in any partially opened or closed positions. Because these valves can often get stuck in either an “on” or “off” position, they are best suited for applications where the water will be shut off at infrequent moments, such as a main shut off valve.
If you live in a newer home, your main shutoff valve will most likely be a ball valve instead of a gate valve. Another type of full-flow valve system, ball valves are typically found in homes with plastic or copper main pipes. Ball valves are designed to be quarter turn valves. This means turning the handle one quarter turn clockwise will close the valve. The valve is positioned “open” when the handle is parallel to the pipe. Closing it requires only one quarter turn to the right.
Another area of piping that may have a gate valve for home use is an outdoor water spigot. These valves are great for residential irrigation systems because they allow for a slow shut-off of water to control pressure as it is turned on or off. The most common type of gate valve used for water spigots is one made of stainless steel, such as this one, or one made of brass, like this. Keep reading to find out how to care for your stainless steel gate valves.
How to Care for Your Stainless Steel Gate Valves
In order to ensure your gate valve will open and close properly, it is important to keep up on a few simple maintenance tasks. First is to wrap the threads of the valve with plumber’s tape, made of silicone and designed to help protect and maintain the seal around the threading of your valve, which is considered a weak point within the connection. Plumber’s tape should be replaced annually to ensure a tight seal.
Next, it is a good idea to use lubrication within your valve, as over long periods of time gate valves for residential plumbing can become stuck. To prevent sticking, occasionally lubricate the post of the valve wheel with spray lubricant. It is especially important to lubricate your valves during the winter months.
In addition to thread tape and lubrication, use the following best practices to care for your gate valves. Inspect your outdoor valves regularly for rust. A wire brush can quickly take care of small bits of rust that may form on your valve. Another option is to paint the valve with paint that helps to protect against rust. Opening and closing your valve periodically helps ensure the valve is functioning properly and does not become stuck. Annually tightening the nuts on your valve is also a great idea. This helps maintain pressure within the system.
Gate Valves for Home Projects
While gate valves are not typically found in the home, they can be used to control the main water supply to your house or they can be used in irrigation systems. When choosing a valve for your home, consider using gate valves for applications in which you need to infrequently turn water on or off. These valves will last longer if they are left completely on or off for extended periods of time. However, if you have stainless steel gate valves, do not completely neglect them. Be sure to follow our guidelines above for caring for your gate valves.
With so many different options when it comes to which valve to use, it can be difficult to make the correct choice. If you are unsure about which valves to use, or when to use gate valves within your home, contact us today for answers.
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2. Product quality assurance: Our products are produced in strict accordance with GB/JB (China), ANSI, DIN, JIS, BS, RUSSIAN and other standards, and produce various valves, including gate valves, ball valves, check valves, butterfly valves, plunger valves and other series and some specs.
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