Dec 9, 2022
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Ball Valves for Drinking Water – How They Work

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Ball valves are the most common valves used in drinking water systems. They are designed to regulate fluid flow, and they do that by controlling the opening and closing of the pipe that connects your faucet or plumbing system to the main water line. Valves used to control drinking water must meet some industry standards and specifications. We have discussed all you need to know about ball valves for drinking water in the sections below.

What is a Ball Valve?

Ball valves use a ball to regulate the flow of gases and liquids. They feature a spherical ball (F) with a hollow center that allows or restricts fluid flow. By turning the handle (A) attached to this ball, you can control the opening and closing of your pipeline. These valves are quarter-turn, meaning you can fully open or close the valve by rotating the handle at a 90-degree angle. The other components of a ball valve are (C) shaft, Body (G), and ball seal (E).

Ball valves are quite flexible and can be used in domestic or industrial applications. Besides being low-cost and durable, they offer a wide range of end connections, making them compatible with several other plumbing components. It can also handle a broad range of temperature and pressure and are easy to install and replace.

Drinking Water Valves Features

Drinking water valves are found in homes, businesses or public facilities. They are best used as shut-off valves between the water source (municipal or well water) and the piping going into your home or business premises. Some important features to look out for in these valves include the following:

  • Housing, seat and seal material. Most valves used in drinking water systems have a housing material made of Brass or stainless steel. The seal material can be made from EPD or NBR, while the seat can be made of Teflon. Regardless of the material you choose, ensure it doesn’t rust/corrode, is resistant to wear, and, most importantly, doesn’t alter the water properties, e.g., smell, taste or color.
  • Bore size. When controlling huge quantities of water, you want to choose a drinking water valve with a bore size equal to the diameter of the pipe. That way, the valve will create no resistance to water flow, hence little to no pressure drop.
  • Anti-legionella. Standard ball valves have a dead space around the ball, created when the water pressure pushes the floating ball against the seat ring. And while this is ideal for sealing the valve, it allows fluid to collect between the ball and the front seal. When water becomes stagnant in this space, it encourages bacterial growth. Therefore, ball valves for drinking water should not have this dead space. Instead, it should have an extra hole to drain water around the ball.
  • Handle and Handle material. A quarter-turn valve should have an easy-to-use handle that’s durable. The best valves have handles made from steel or hardened plastic. That said, the handle material doesn’t come in contact with drinking water.

Drinking Water Valves Certifications

Ball valves for drinking water applications are designed to be maintenance-free. That way, you don’t have to regularly open up the valve and risk contaminating the drinking water. Even so, these valves are still prone to wear after years of continuous use, and you’ll need to find the perfect replacement.

Before picking a ball valve replacement, ensure it meets industry standards. Here are the common regulations and certifications required for valves used for drinking water applications.

  • Kiwa Water Mark. This is a Dutch certification for all products that make contact with drinking water. The certification applies to products used in public and private water systems.
  • It stands for Water Regulations Advisory Scheme. It’s a certification requirement in the United Kingdom that covers products (plumbing systems and water fittings) used to supply drinking water to the public.
  • This stands for the National Sanitation Foundation, a North American organization that tests, inspects and certifies products used in plumbing systems, water treatment systems and other equipment that come in contact with drinking water.
  • DVGW-W270. This is a German guideline and certification requirement that oversees the testing of the products that make contact with drinking water. The guidelines check for bacteriologic growth or contamination risks in drinking water components or products.
  • ACS. This is a France certification requirement that’s a mandatory approval for equipment and material used in drinking water applications.
  • WaterMark. This is a mandatory certification used in New Zealand and Australia for drainage and plumbing products that come in contact with drinking water.

Choosing a Drinking Water Valve for Your Home or Business

Now that you know how ball valves work, their features and the various certification requirements, choosing the right one for your residential, commercial or industrial use shouldn’t be that difficult. Ideally, you want to pick a high-quality ball valve from a reputable manufacturer. If you are in doubt, consult a trusted professional to help you make the right selection.

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