What Is a Gate Valve?

The right plumbing configuration will make all the difference in your home improvement project. Of course, you are going to want quality valves for the job. In many cases, the ideal solution will be a gate valve. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned vet when it comes to plumbing, you've probably heard that term before, so what is a gate valve?

How Does a Gate Valve Work?

diagram of gate valve

It is essentially a type of stopper in a pipeline intended to block the passage of fluid. For this valve to function properly, the stopper must lift out of the way to allow flow, much like a gate on an old castle. Normally the gate valve should not be used for regulating flow unless it is constructed for that purpose. The gate valve is typically used in the industrial world because of its unique ability to pierce through high-viscosity fluids.

A gate valve is unique in that it offers either a non-rising or rising stem option. The latter is convenient because, with a quick glance, you can see the valve positioning. After all, the gate and the stem move in conjunction. A non-rising gate valve typically has a pointer toward the top of the stem to indicate whether the valve is open or shut. A bonnet covers the valve body to protect it from damage. Bonnets provide a leak-proof enclosure, and there are different kinds (screw-in, pressure seal, bolted, and union).

Types of Gate Valves

  • Wedge: This is a popular option because the gate (shaped like a wedge) does not stick to the seat and offers long-lasting operation.
  • Knife: named for how pointy they are, knife gate valves are self-cleaning and work great with thick fluids.
  • Through-Conduit: also known as slab gates, this variety is good for natural gas and crude oil because of the minimal pressure loss it allows.
  • Parallel Slide: this style of valve is meant for high-temperature applications. They are also good at keeping dirt out of the seating surfaces.
  • Parallel Expanding: this is probably not what you're going to install in your household plumbing applications as it is ideal for heavy-duty jobs, like in power plants and refineries.

Buy Gate Valves Online

Now that you know what a gate valve is and how it works within a plumbing system, you can proceed with your project. Find just about any type of plumbing valve here at PlumbersStock. If you can't find the right part, don't give up. Please contact us because we probably have it, you just haven't found it. For contractors or homeowners buying bulk, hit us up about special deals.

Related resources:
Globe Valve vs. Gate Valve
Gate Valve vs. Butterfly Valve
What Is a Check Valve?
What Is a Ball Valve?
What Is a Globe Valve?
What Is a Butterfly Valve?
What Is a Curb Stop?

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