The global market for control valves is estimated to be over $7.11 billion with a growth rate of 6.5% every year. The market is varied with both professionals and home users seeking to buy a valve for one reason or another. There are ordinary valves for control of common fluids as well as complicated projects like in oil and gas or even in industrial uses.
Professional plumbers are well knowledgeable on the type and function each valve performs. However, home users and non-commercial plumbers often find themselves asking ‘what type of valve do I need for each project?
Choosing all the right valves for a project can be overwhelming. Here’s a detailed guide to help break it down.
WHAT FLOW DO YOU NEED TO CONTROL?
Well, before you hit the market to purchase a valve, it’s good to know what you want to use a valve for. Determining the type of media flowing through a pipe helps you determine the type of valve to purchase. You need to know if you want to stop the flow of water, gases or heavy liquids.
There are hydraulic valves, steam valves, gas valves, vacuum valves, water valves, and solid valves.
You also want to know the function under which you want a valve to do. Do you want to stop the flow, divert the flow of a liquid, relief pressure on a pipe, or do you want to prevent a backflow of any material? Once you determine the function of the valve you need, choosing the valve type becomes easy.
The main classes of valves include a shut valve, which completely stops the flow, a regulatory valve which controls the amount of liquid or gas you want to flow through, and a backflow valve. There are also directional flow valves and pressure control valves.
The type of flow also helps you research on the material that makes up the valve. Some of the valves are corroded by media while others can burst if exposed to high pressures. Other types of materials making up valves are ideal for reducing friction.
These chemical and physical properties of the material should always be considered to avoid malfunctioning.
TYPE OF VALVE FOR YOUR JOB
The list of types of valves is long. The main ones used are ball valves. These act as on and off kind of switches mostly turning from one side to another in a 90 degrees angle. This is common in homes as they act as water taps in kitchens, bathrooms, sinks and gardening pipes.
The other common type of valve is butterfly valves which are both a shut valve as well as a regulator valve. It can completely shut the flow of a media or reduce the amount that flows through it. The backflow valve is controlled by the media rather than you like the pressure of the liquid inside presses a valve backward.
Other types of valves include solenoid skinner valves, needle valves, diaphragm valves, check valves, gate valves, and angle valves. Each has a different function and none can be used for a different role.
MATERIAL THAT MAKES UP THE VALVE
The function with which you want to use a valve will guide you on the material that makes up a type of valve for a project. For example, extremely hot conditions will need a valve that can hold the heat. High-pressure valves like in steam or hydraulic conditions require a valve made of very strong material to prevent it from blowing up.
It’s also good to know the chemical compatibility of the valve material to ensure it does not react with the media being regulated. For example, plastic valves are the best in terms of chemical flow control. Stainless steel is also ideal for many liquids to prevent rusting.
Polyurethane is designed for temperatures up to 200 F, while PTFE is low friction materials which help regulate moving parts. There are some PTFE materials that are added glasses which even reduces the pressure further.
Size of the Pipe (Inlet/Outlet)
You need to take the measurement of both the inlet and the outlets that you would want to join. Some valves connect bigger pipes to smaller ones while others connect smaller pipes to bigger valves which reduces the pressure on a flow. Taking the measurement helps you know the exact size to avoid leaks or loss of pressure.
Many people doing DIY take measurements of the exterior part of the pipe which is not accurate enough. However, the good thing about valves is that they are well labeled to ensure you get the measurements correctly.
PRESSURE REQUIREMENTS AND THE AMOUNT OF PRESSURE A VALVE CAN HANDLE
When it comes to the pressure carried by different pipes, it’s worth knowing how different levels of pressure acts on a valve. For example, for water use, a large pipe has less pressure unless a lot of water flows through it.
Other issues about the pressure that you should know include set pressure measured in pounds per square inch (PSIG). Also check on the temperature of the media, back pressure, and required capacity.
MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS OF A VALVE
Some of the valves require no maintenance. Others will require constant oiling and grease to make them function optimally. In the case of high-pressure valves in the case of steam pipes, it is good to note that they require constant check and repair.
Once you know the type of valve you require, enquire from your seller on the maintenance requirements. Any dealer should guide you on selecting a type of valve. This way, you can plan for any extra expenses required.
CHOOSE YOUR FUNCTION, KNOW YOUR VALVE AND ALL WILL WORK FOR YOU
A good valve for the right function makes your work efficient. Whether you are a professional or trying out your DIY skills, learning the type of valve, use, and quality of a valve is vital in ensuring the job is done well.
You can learn more about types and where to buy valves by visiting our site. Here you will learn about controlling different types of liquids, gases, and managing pressure on your valves.