The importance of a ball valve cannot be neglected because of its immense usability and demand. Apart from the fact that it gives you a peace of mind that the valve is fully sealed, it also ensures that high volume, high temparature flow, and high pressure are fully regulated and maintained. Needless to say, it is quite inexpensive and ultra-efficient.
What is a Ball Valve?
It is kind of a quarter-turn valve that uses a perforated, hollow, and pivoting ball to ensure that there is controlled flow of substances through it. The small ball or sphere controls the flow of liquid through the valve in a quite seamless manner. A lever is used to control the flow of substances and this means that if the lever is placed perpendicular to the pipe, the water flows and if the lever is placed at 90-degree angle then it breaks the flow.
Ball valves are quite commonly used because they are reliable, durable, need little maintenance, and are quite inexpensive as well.
Benefits of a Ball Valve
- Delivers impeccable bubble-tight service
- Easy to use and operations are done quite effortlessly
- Quick to open or close
- It is smaller in size as compared to a gate valve
- It offers versatility
- Several types offer more flexibility to the user
- It is durable and reliable
- It is low-priced and there is low maintenance cost as well
- It works quite well even without side loads
- There is no need of lubrication
- There is low noise and zero vibration
- Its structure is quite simple
- There is little resistance of the fluid
Disadvantages of a Ball Valve
- It is difficult to clean
- Given the fact that cleaning it is not easy, there are chances of contamination
- The throttling characteristics shown by a ball valve are poor
- It shows signs of wear and tears when used for a wrong type of fluid
Types of Ball Valves
There are 4 commonly used types of ball valves in the market:
- Stainless Steel Ball Valves
- Brass Ball Valves
- Bronze Ball Valves
- PVE Ball Valves
It is worth mentioning that stainless steel ball valves are quite prized for its applications, strength, and durability. On top of all this, these ball valves do not corrode or rust over time.
If we go in detail, there are other types of ball valves such as Split-body ball valve, Top-Entry Ball Valve, End-Entry Ball Valve, Double Trunnion Ball Valves, Three-Piece Body Ball Valve, and Lubricated or Non-lubricated ball valve.
How to Choose a Ball Valve
When it comes to choosing a ball valve, you need to have prior knowledge of certain types of ball valves. Here are six important steps to keep in mind while selecting a ball valve:
Step 1: You need to determine the working/range pressure of the ball valve according to its application.
Step 2: You need to know about the type of fluid that will flow through the valve.
Step 3: You need to know beforehand how much the valve is able to handle the temperature range of substances flowing through it.
Step 4: You need to choose the right size of the valve and that is why it is best to have knowledge of the volume of the liquid that will flow through the valve.
Step 5: Compare the prices of different ball valves and choose the one that seems the most reasonable to you. However, it is imperative to keep in mind that you cannot compromise over quality just because of the low price.
Step 6: In the end, choose a valve by keeping in mind the installation cost as well. Obviously, you do not want to buy a ball valve whose installation cost is way more than its actual price.
Applications of a Ball Valve
The following are some common applications of ball valves:
- High-point vents gaseous, liquid, and other fluid services
- Low-point drains and stream service
- Applications that specifically require bubble-tight service
- Feed water and cooling water systems
- Instrument root valves
- Home plumbing
- Oil and gas applications
- Industrial applications
- Marine applications and many others fields as well
The Bottom Line
There is no denying that a ball valve is a great option for various applications as compared to a gate valve. It is inexpensive and there is not much maintenance required once it is installed. However, a ball valve will only serve you better if you choose the ‘appropriate’ one for the right application.