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Thread: Ball Valve vs. Gate Valve

  1. #1
    DIY Member Don Zorn's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
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    Default Ball Valve vs. Gate Valve

    This is general question on which type of valve is more reliable.

    On the advice of a plumbing associate at my local HD, I soldered a "sweat type" ball valve on the 3/4" cold water supply to my hot water heater. After turning on the water I noticed a small pin hole leak in the valve itself where the two halves of the valve are threaded together. About one drip every 3-4 minutes. I plan to replace the valve.

    A similar thing happened on a 1/2" sweat type ball valve on a water facet to a hose located in my garage - the valve started leaking at the threaded joint after about 6 months of service. I replaced it with a standard gate type valve.

    The local HD pushes the ball valve as a better choice than the gate type valve. In my very limited experience with ball valves, both times they have failed. My question for the professional plumbers with years of experience is this. Are ball valves inherently less reliable than gate valves? Or does HD just stock cheap ball valves? What would you install on the cold water supply to a hot water heater?

    Thanks in advance for your advice and opinions.

    Don

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default valves

    Yes, HD usually sells on the basis of price not quality. I have never had a ball valve leak at that joint. And yes they are inherently better than gate valves, especially the gate valves you would get at HD or similar. Are you overheating the valve when you install it. That could cause uneven expansion and might start a leak at that joint.

  3. #3
    DIY Member Don Zorn's Avatar
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    Default

    I don't think I overheated the valve when soldering it - but who knows - maybe I am. I did open the valve when soldering as recommended by the manufacturer and tried to apply the heat evenly around the valve/pipe before applying solder.

    Any tips on what I could do differently next time around?

    Don

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default valve

    Buy a better valve and then apply just enough heat to melt the solder so it flows properly.

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