What to Know About Water Shutoff ValvesEvery home has them, but most people don’t pay attention to them except in an emergency. The simple water shutoff valve is a vital component of any plumbing system. This guide will explain the pros and cons common water shutoff valve types.

Washer Valve

A washer valve has a rubber gasket inside that gets pressed down when the handle is turned, blocking water.

Pros: Washer valves are inexpensive and easy to replace.
Cons: The rubber wears out quicker than materials used in other valves.

Ball Valve

A ball valve has a quarter-turn handle attached to a steel ball inside the valve. A hole has been drilled through the middle of the valve. When the handle is turned off, the ball is rotated so that the solid part of the ball blocks water flow. When the handle is turned on, the ball rotates so that water flows through the hole.

Pros: The steel construction of the ball makes it very sturdy. The design makes it the most trustworthy for completely blocking water flow.
Cons: Ball valves are somewhat expensive. Because the handle only turns a quarter turn from off to on, ball valves don’t work in extremely tight spaces.

Gate Valve

A gate valve has a piece of metal inside that is lowered like a gate when the handle is turned to the “off” position. When lowered, the gate sits in a groove at the bottom. When the gate fits firmly in the groove, water flow is stopped effectively. However, if the gate is only partially lowered, the bottom of the metal piece is subjected to the flow of water. This will wear away some of the metal to the point where eventually it won’t fit perfectly in the groove.

Pros: As long as the gate valve is in good condition, it works very well.
Cons: The valve will leak if the bottom of the gate has worn away.

To get more information about water shutoff valves or for any plumbing questions in Grand Traverse County, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water shutoff valves and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.

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