Different Types of Water Valves Used in Residential Plumbing

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 Water faucet

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Valves are a very critical part of a plumbing system since they are used to stop and regulate water flow in a water line. There are different types of water valves that are used in a residential plumbing system. These valves serve different purposes that they are best suited for. Some valves are made for ON-OFF control of water flow, while some are designed for adjusting the volume of water flow. Water valves are also available in different materials such as bronze, PVC, and brass. This blog contains different types of water valves that are used in residential plumbing.

Gate Valve

Gate valve

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Gate valves are among the most commonly used water valves in residential plumbing. These types of water valves are designed to control water flow by raising or lowering an internal gate using a handle that is located at the top part of the valve. Gate valves fully open to allow full flow of liquid, and they also fully close to stop the flow entirely. 

They are not designed to control fluid flow and should not be used for such a purpose. If you use a gate valve to control fluid flow, then you risk wearing it out fast. Gate valves are commonly used as shut-off valves for main and branch water supply lines. 



  • Gate valves have low fluid resistance.
  • They provide excellent sealing performance.
  • Gate valves are bidirectional, allowing dual flow directions of liquids; hence are perfect for applications where the flow of liquid may change.
  • Gate valves have a variety of applications hence can be used not only for residential plumbing systems but also for other pipeline applications.



  • Gate valves are prone to scratches due to friction that arises from the two sealing surfaces of the valve seat.
  • They open and close slowly, which makes them impractical for systems that require swift actuation.

Globe Valve

A globe valve

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Globe valves are used to regulate the flow of water in residential plumbing systems. The shape of the globe valve is unique from any other type of valve in the market. It has a bulge on its body, and the handle is a twist knob. Globe valves are mainly used in applications where water flow needs to be adjusted on a regular basis. 

The inside of the valve has a stopper that is raised and lowered by the twist knob. When the stopper goes down, the water flow is halted, and vice versa. Globe valves are commonly used for outdoor faucets since they are perfect for their purpose of regulating flow.


  • Globe valves have perfect shut-off capability.
  • They are easy to maintain, and you can easily resurface the seats.
  • A globe valve can also be used as a stop-check valve when the disc is not attached to the stem.
  • Globe valves are available in different designs, including wye and angle patterns.
  • They have good throttling capability.


  • Globe valves experience a high-pressure drop.
  • They require great force to seat the valve.

Ball Valve

A ball valve

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Ball valves are used for main and branch water supply lines. They are the most reliable shutoff valves available in the market today. Ball valves are similar to gate valves in that they are either fully open to allow water flow or fully closed to stop water flow completely. Their internal structures include a ball with a hole in the middle which connects to a lever-type outer handle. This handle acts as a convenient visual aid, letting you know whether the water is on or off at a glance.


  • They open and close quickly.
  • Ball valves provide a leak-proof service.
  • Compared to other types of valves, ball valves are lighter in weight.
  • They are designed in different shapes and sizes, which allows flexibility in selection.
  • They work well under high temperature and high-pressure systems.
  • In comparison to other valve types, ball valves require less force to control.


  • Ball valves cannot be used for throttling purposes.
  • They have to be installed upright.
  • The position of the handle of the valve is rotated.

Butterfly Valve

Butterfly valves

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Butterfly valves look like ball valves on the outside, with a lever-style handle that opens and closes the valve. The design internally uses a rotating metal disc to control the flow of water. Even when the valve is fully open, the water flow is limited because the water flows around the disc in the middle of the valve. 

A butterfly valve, unlike a ball valve, which is designed to be an ON-OFF valve, can accurately control the flow volume. A butterfly valve’s main disadvantage is that the gasket inside the valve can cause maintenance concerns after a few years. Butterfly valves are more typically seen in industrial applications than in residential plumbing systems.


  • Butterfly valves are easy maintenance due to their simple designs, which consist of lesser parts.
  • They are lightweight, which makes installation easy and less costly.
  • Butterfly valves open and shut easel, and they also have a good sealing capability.
  • They can transfer mud in a pipeline outlet.


  • Butterfly valves are prone to cavitation as they perform their functions.
  • Throttling using butterfly valves is restricted to low-pressure systems.
  • There is always a pressure switch when using a butterfly valve, irrespective of the setting.


There are other types of valves used in residential plumbing that we have not discussed in detail. These include the check valve, fixture shutoff valve, among others. When looking for a valve for your plumbing system, it is important to note the different functions and applications of these valves and choose one that works perfectly for your system. Check out our website for different types of valves used both for residential plumbing systems and other applications.

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