What Are Plumbing Control Valves and Their Types?

Control valves are an essential component of any home’s plumbing system. They are responsible for controlling and regulating the flow of fluids and gases in a system and can help maintain a specific flow rate, pressure, temperature, or liquid level.

In this blog post, we will explore the different types of control valves, their uses and applications, and what you need to know to make an informed decision when choosing the right valve for your DIY application.

Definition: What Is a Control Valve?

A control valve is a valve used to regulate fluid flow by changing the size of the flow passage in response to a controller’s signal.

This makes it possible to manage the flow rate directly and, as a result, process variables like pressure, temperature, and liquid level.

They ensure that the proper pressure and flow rate are maintained at all times. Control valves come in various shapes and sizes and can be used in various applications.

The Different Types of Control Valves

Control Valves

Control valves come in many different shapes and sizes and can be designed to suit various applications. Generally, there are four main control valves: globe valves, butterfly valves, ball valves, and diaphragm valves.

Each of these types offers unique advantages, making them suitable for various applications. Let’s take a closer look at each type.

Globe valves are the most commonly used control valve and are typically used in systems that require precise flow control.

This type of valve comprises a valve body with a plug inside connected to a stem outside. When the stem is rotated, it either opens or closes the valve, allowing more or less flow through the system.

Butterfly valves are a type of quarter-turn valve that makes it easy to open and close the valve quickly and precisely.

They are ideal for applications requiring fast-acting shutoff and precise control. Butterfly valves also offer low friction losses, which is why they are used in many industrial applications, such as water treatment plants.

Ball valves are quarter-turn valves primarily used to start or stop the flow. This type of valve utilizes a metal ball partially filled with holes to allow water or other liquid to flow through.

Ball valves are easy to use and can be quickly opened or closed with just a quarter turn of the valve handle.

Diaphragm valves are pressure-actuated valves that utilize a flexible diaphragm to control the flow of liquid or gas through a system.

This type of valve is well-suited for applications that require accurate control over the pressure and flow rate.

They also offer excellent performance when dealing with abrasive materials or media, which can damage traditional valve components. Additionally, due to their simplicity, diaphragm valves are often easier to install and maintain than other valve types.

Other control valves include solenoid valves, relief valves, check valves, and pilot-operated valves.

Solenoid valves are commonly used in automated processes where an electrical current is needed to actuate the valve. Relief valves act as safety devices, allowing excess pressure to escape a system when necessary.

Check valves ensure that flow only travels one way, while pilot-operated valves rely on a small amount of energy from another source to operate the valve.

The above-listed control valves are manufactured by Hayward, Honeywell, and Johnson.

Hayward flow control valves are ideal for regulating the flow rate of liquids or gases. They can be used in both commercial and industrial settings.

Honeywell control valves are designed for controlling temperature and flow rate. They are highly reliable and easy to install.

Johnson controls control valves are known for their durability and precision. They offer accurate flow rate control over a wide range of temperatures and pressures.

The Different Ways in Which Control Valves Are Used

Control valves are used in various industrial applications to control the flow of liquids and gases. They are widely used in the oil and gas, water treatment, food processing, and chemical industries.

Control valves can be used for various purposes, such as controlling pressure, flow rate, temperature, and even level.

In the oil and gas industry, control valves regulate the pressure and flow rate of crude oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products.

In the water treatment industry, they regulate the flow of raw water and monitor and control chemical levels in the water.

Control valves are also used in the food processing industry for controlling the temperature of liquids during processing. This helps to maintain optimal product quality and consistency.

In the chemical industry, control valves monitor and control various chemicals’ flow in the production process.

This helps ensure that the chemical reactions occur under ideal conditions and that the end product meets the specified standards.

In addition to these uses, control valves are also used in many other applications, such as cooling systems, HVAC systems, and various types of pumps.

In all these applications, they provide precise control over the flow rate of liquids or gases. This helps improve the process’s efficiency and accuracy while reducing energy costs.

The Various Advantages Offered by Control Valves

Control valves offer many advantages that make them invaluable in many applications.

One of the primary benefits of using control valves is their ability to maintain consistent pressure, flow, and temperature throughout a system, ensuring that all connected components are running as efficiently as possible.

Additionally, these devices can help save energy costs by reducing the time required for the system to reach a specific temperature or pressure level.

Control valves also can offer precise control of pressure, flow, and temperature. This means that systems can be regulated more accurately, ensuring that all components perform optimally.

Furthermore, control valves are designed to last longer, meaning they do not require frequent maintenance or replacement.

While manual control valves can offer cost-effective solutions for applications that don’t require frequent or automated adjustments, automatic control valves are often the best choice for achieving precise fluid flow control.


With different control valves available today, selecting the right one for your application should be done carefully by considering all factors such as size, capacity, materials, application requirements, etc.

Whether you’re using a linear or rotary type of valve, it’s important to ensure that you choose the right one for your specific application in order to get the best performance.

They can help protect other system components from damage or deterioration due to overpressure, potentially leading to expensive repairs or replacements.

Overall, control valves are an invaluable tool that offers many advantages in industrial, commercial, and residential applications.

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