A while back we gave you an introduction to ball valves and their uses and benefits. They’re versatile components that can be used in a wide range of industrial applications, and they’re popular thanks to their strength, durability and affordability.
In this piece, we’re taking a look at ball valve advantages and disadvantages, as we delve a little deeper into understanding these components.
Ball valve design
Ball valves were first created in the 1950s, and gained widespread use in a range of sectors, from chemical and petroleum to papermaking and even water treatment plants. This simple component consists of a ball that sits inside a pipe. The ball has a hole in the centre, and this allows liquid and gas to pass through it when the hole is lined up with the pipe. When the ball turns and the hole is no longer flush with the pipe, movement of substances cease.
Ball valves – especially the newer plastic variety – have been designed to withstand high temperatures and pressures. Moreover, their durability means they’re able to maintain and/or regulate extreme volumes and pressures, as well as high velocity flows.
That said, there are some drawbacks to the design of the ball valve. They can get jammed in one position if they’re used for the wrong application, like slurries. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the substance you’re wanting to regulate will not cause your ball valves to get stuck in place. Ball valves are also not recommended for sustained throttling.
This clever video depicts how ball valves work.
Ball valve repair and ball valve replacement
When people talk about ball valve advantages and disadvantages, one of the major pros that comes up is the fact that they’re highly durable. Ball valves are recognised for their ability to provide many years of reliable service, particularly the plastic variety, which are obviously not prone to rusting like their metal counterparts.
Of course, as with any component that is under constant strain, damage can occur. Another great advantage of some types of ball valves is that they’re very simple to repair. Thanks to their basic design, you can easily access seals and seats to fix them as and when you need to. Repairs can take place fairly quickly and without intense workmanship.
It’s also worth noting that ball valves, thanks to the regulating elements’ design, makes it easy for the component to function without having to worry about side loads, which are often a problem when using butterfly or globe valves. This means that ball valves are less prone to damage than other kinds of valves.
Learn more about types of valves and which to choose for your next project.
In some cases, it’s necessary to replace the ball valve altogether. As they’re affordable and long-lasting, this is a job that shouldn’t cost a fortune or be required too often.
Ball valve sizes
Ball valves come in a variety of sizes to suit as many uses as possible. In some instances, they’re even colour-coded, so you immediately know which one to use for your application. Usually, ball valves start from 0.5cm in size, and they can be as large as 121cm.
In summary: ball valve advantages and disadvantages
Before you make your final decision, let’s wrap up the pros and cons of ball valves so you can make an informed choice.
Advantages of ball valves:
- Efficiency: Ball valves don’t need any lubrication, and offer a bubble-tight seal with low torque.
- Affordability: They can often be purchased at a considerably lower cost than comparable products for the same job.
- Durability: They offer a long service life and, when used under the right conditions, will provide many years of reliable use. Ball valves are less prone to damage than other kinds of valves, and the plastic variety aren’t susceptible to corrosion.
- Easy to use: Ball valves are relatively quick and easy to install, and plastic ball valves are light and easy to handle.
- Versatile: They’re appropriate for a wide range of industrial applications where it’s necessary to regulate the flow of liquids or gases.
- Strong: Ball valves can maintain and regulate high pressure, high volume and a high flow of temperature.
- Simple to repair: Easily access the seats when a valve requires fixing.
Disadvantages of ball valves:
- Poor throttling characteristics: In a throttling position, the partially exposed seat may be prone to erosion as a result of high velocity flows. They’re therefore not recommended for sustained throttling applications.
- Wear and tear: When used to regulate the wrong types of fluids, such as slurries, ball valves can stick in position and become jammed due to suspended particles being trapped. This can cause the valve to wear, or to become damaged or stuck.
Finding the right ball valves for your application
If you’ve decided that ball valves are right for your project, you need to find the right size and type.
Start by exploring the range available at Plastinternational. We offer durable plastic ball valves, in ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, ½ inch, 3/4 inch and 1 inch sizes. We’ll help you select the right components for your project, and we’ll be able to match them with the fittings you need.
We also offer a ½ inch Ball-o-Stop shut-off valve, which is 100% rust-resistant, and offers a secure and reliable seal when you need to shut off your water for repairs.