Plumbing Valves

Household Plumbing Valves: Unlocking the Power of Your Plumbing Essentials

Most of us have heard the adage, “Knowledge is power,” well, knowing your plumbing system will give you the upper hand should anything go wrong. In this article, we’ll focus on the valves in your home, especially the shut-off valve. Knowing where they’re located, how to shut them off, and when to replace them could save a homeowner big should something fail with your plumbing valves. Most homeowners would prefer to roll the dice when it comes to something going wrong with their plumbing system.

Many homeowners are prone to encountering water damage issues during their lifetime. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that approximately 14,000 individuals in the United States grapple with water damage problems on a daily basis.

According to the most recent statistics released by the III, water damage and freezing constitute the second-highest causes of property damage claims annually, trailing behind wind and hail. III’s data, compiled from 2016 to 2020, indicates that one out of every 60 insured homes filed yearly property damage claims due to water damage or freezing pipes. On average, these claims amounted to $11,650 in severity.

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Don’t Use Your Shut-Off Valve, and They’ll Leak

Many of those leaks start from faulty shut-off valves. Our shut-off plumbing valves can stay open for years without incident. However, when it comes time to replace a toilet or faucet, you’ll need to use the shut-off valve(angle stop) to shut the water off. That’s when things can get out of hand. From being open for so many years, attempting to close it can cause it to leak due to minerals and corrosion. The solution is to apply annual maintenance by adding a couple of drops of oil. Additionally, turn the handles back and forth a few times, so that they are still pliable. This will keep your shut-off valve in tip-top shape should you need to shut it off in the future.  

Here is a list of common plumbing valves that a homeowner may come in contact with:

Shut-Off Valve: Controls Water Supply to Toilets, Faucets and Fixtures 

A shut-off valve is an essential plumbing component designed to regulate water flow to particular fixtures. Typically situated beneath sinks, behind toilets, or in close proximity to water-using appliances. Its primary purpose is to provide a convenient means of controlling water supply. By turning the valve’s handle, homeowners can allow water to flow to the connected fixture or cut off its supply. This functionality proves invaluable during routine maintenance, repairs, or emergencies. It enables individuals to isolate specific sections of the plumbing system without necessitating a shutdown of the entire water supply. This will allow for efficient and localized water flow control. Your knowledge of household plumbing valves will save you big should a water leak occur.

Gate Valve Often Serving as the Primary Shut-Off Valve  

A Gate Valve is a pivotal component in plumbing systems, often serving as the primary shut-off valve for the entire network. Its functionality revolves around regulating the flow of water by either raising or lowering an internal gate within the valve. When fully open, it allows unrestricted water flow, and when closed, it effectively blocks the passage of water. Gate plumbing valves are essential for isolating the water supply in emergencies or for maintenance due to their robust design and ability to provide complete control over the water flow in a plumbing system. 

Plumbing Valves / Gate Valve

Ball Plumbing Valves are Indispensable 

A Ball Valve is a crucial plumbing device featuring a lever handle and a spherical ball with a hole to manage water flow effectively. It functions as a shut-off valve, commonly found in applications such as water heaters and outdoor faucets. You can sometimes find them within the main water supply lines. By turning the lever handle, the ball inside the valve can restrict water flow. These plumbing valves are prized for their reliability, ease of operation, and ability to control water flow quickly and precisely. This makes them indispensable for various plumbing systems and fixtures. Ball valves are also used as a main shut-off valve to the whole house in the case of a plumbing emergency or maintenance.

Plumbing Valves Ball Valve

Check Valves: Common in Our Water Heaters and Commercial Use 

Check Valves are specialized plumbing valves designed to facilitate water flow in a single direction while preventing reverse flow. Frequently utilized in applications like sump pumps and sewage ejector systems, its primary purpose is safeguarding against backflow. The valve opens when water flows in the intended direction, permitting its passage, but swiftly closes to block any reverse water flow, verifying that water moves only in the desired direction and preventing contamination or damage in plumbing systems prone to backflow issues.

Water pump systems utilize check valves to uphold pressure during pump downtime and to prevent backflow. For instance, a check valve in a residential water heater confirms that hot water doesn’t flow back into the cold inlet waterline when there’s a drop in cold water pressure. Large buildings with HVAC systems also incorporate check valves to regulate coolant flow across various floors.

Checking plumbing valves in domestic or industrial contexts are important in safeguarding equipment and having optimal performance. You can delve further into the significance of check valves by exploring additional information here.

Pressure Relief Valve: Maintaining the Stability and Functionality of Heating Systems 

A Pressure Relief Valve is a safety device installed on water heaters and boilers. Its primary purpose is to safeguard these systems by releasing excess pressure, preventing potential explosions or damage. When the pressure inside the unit surpasses safe levels, the valve automatically opens, allowing a controlled release of the built-up pressure, which helps maintain the system’s integrity and ensures the safety of the surrounding environment. Pressure Relief Valves play a crucial role in maintaining the stability and functionality of heating systems while reducing the risk of catastrophic failures.

Plumbing Valves - Pressure Relief Valves

Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV): Plumbing Valves Designed to Regulate Water Pressure

A pressure-reducing valve (PRV) is a plumbing component to lower and regulate the water pressure entering a residence. Its primary function is to mitigate excessively high water pressure, which can potentially cause damage to plumbing fixtures and appliances. By reducing the incoming water pressure to a safe and manageable level, PRVs guarantee the longevity and proper functioning of household plumbing systems while preventing costly repairs and safeguarding against leaks and bursts in pipes and fixtures.

Thermostatic Mixing Valve Will Enhance User Safety 

A thermodynamic mixing valve is a device installed in showers and faucets to precisely blend hot and cold water. Designed for your safety to achieve a desired and safe temperature. Its primary purpose is to prevent scalding by automatically adjusting the water temperature to pre-set levels. These plumbing valves will maintain comfortable and consistent flow regardless of hot or cold water supply fluctuations. Thermostatic mixing plumbing valves enhance user safety by ensuring the water remains within a specified temperature range. It significantly reduces the risk of burns or discomfort during showers and other water-related activities.

Replacing a thermostatic mixing valve will require a plumbing professional. However, wouldn’t you like to call your plumbing provider and say, “I think my thermostatic mixing valve went bad?” 

Angle Stop Valve: Invaluable for Conducting Swift Repairs and Maintenance 

Angle Stop Valves are frequently located beneath sinks and toilets, serving as essential components that regulate the water supply to these fixtures. Their primary purpose is to provide a convenient means of controlling water flow to individual plumbing appliances without shutting off the entire water supply to the house. This makes them invaluable for conducting swift repairs, maintenance, or replacements in localized areas of the plumbing system, enhancing convenience and efficiency in plumbing-related tasks.

Thermal Expansion Valve Plays a Vital Role in Maintaining the Integrity and Longevity of the Water Heater 

A Thermal Expansion Valve is a component typically installed on water heaters. Its primary purpose is to address the natural expansion of water as it heats up within the plumbing system. By allowing the excess pressure and volume created by this thermal expansion to discharge safely, these plumbing valves prevent potential damage to the plumbing system. Thermal Expansion Valves play a role in maintaining the integrity and longevity of the water heater and associated plumbing for safe and efficient operation while minimizing the risk of leaks and damage.

Float Valves’ Primary Purpose is to Regulate and Maintain the Water Level  

A Float Valve is an essential component commonly employed in toilets and certain fill valve systems. Its primary purpose is to regulate and maintain the water level within the tank. As the tank empties, the float valve responds by allowing fresh water to flow into the tank until it reaches the desired water level, at which point it shuts off the incoming water supply. This function verifies that the toilet tank is consistently filled to the appropriate level, facilitating effective flushing and efficient water usage while preventing overflows.

PEX Tubing for home repiping

Solenoid Valves Will Allow Water To Plow to Appliances 

A Solenoid Valve is a component frequently employed in various appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. Its primary purpose is to control the flow of water electronically. When an electrical current is applied, the solenoid within the valve activates, allowing water to flow into the appliance. Conversely, when the current is interrupted, the solenoid valve closes, halting the water supply. Solenoid valves play a pivotal role in automating the water supply process in these appliances, enhancing their efficiency and enabling precise control over water usage during different cycles and operations.

Pex Valve (PEX) (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) 

A PEX Valve is a specialized type of valve designed to work with PEX tubing, a flexible and widely used plumbing pipe material. The primary purpose of PEX plumbing valves is to control and regulate water flow within PEX plumbing systems. The PEX valves These valves adapted to the characteristics of PEX tubing, establishing a secure and watertight connection. They play a pivotal role in various plumbing applications, offering reliability and flexibility within PEX systems while allowing for easy on/off control of water flow for specific fixtures or areas in the plumbing network.

Homeowners PEX is now the go-to plumbing tubing for most plumbing companies. Used in heated flooring for many years, however they developed PEX for the plumbing industry in the early 90s. It has now become the go-to piping for new construction and hope repipes. 

Committed to Promoting Plumbing Awareness About Plumbing Valves and More

BIG B’s Plumbing recognizes the importance of familiarizing homeowners with the common plumbing valves found in their households. Knowledge of these valves and their functions is advantageous for day-to-day maintenance and crucial during plumbing emergencies. With a clear understanding of how to operate these plumbing valves, homeowners can swiftly respond to issues, minimize damage, and ensure the efficient operation of their plumbing systems. At Big B’s Plumbing, we’re committed to promoting plumbing awareness and providing expert assistance to keep your plumbing in top shape.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
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Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
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