How to Choose End-of-Line Valves

End-of-Line valves are the valves located at the end of a run of pipes or tubing to stop or throttle the flow rate of gas or liquid. They are used indoors on appliances like washing machines and furnaces, and outdoors for applications like garden hose faucets and irrigation systems. Some are used for more general industrial applications. Old or broken valves can cost you a great deal of money over time, and proper installation is a key factor in delivering the most value. This guide will explain the differences between some of the most common end-of-line valves and give you the knowledge you need to choose the right valve for your next project.

Materials and Connections
End-of-line valves are made of metal or plastic. If you are replacing a valve, take note of how the valve you are replacing connects to the pipe or line. Metal valves connect using threaded male or female connections, solder, or compression fittings. Plastic valves can be glued to plastic pipes. 

Types, Functions and Applications
End-of-line valves fall into three broad uses: indoor, outdoor and general purpose.

Consult the table below for a simple breakdown of valve types, the equipment they work with, and their function.

Indoor Valves

Function and Points to Consider
Boiler Drain Valve
  • Washing machine

  • Water heater

  • Boilers

  • Drains water and sediment

  • May be used with both hot and cold water

  • Removes waste water

  • Removes waste water and empties it into a floor drain

  • Sizes: ¾”, ½”

Radiator/Hydronic Valve
  • Radiator

  • Baseboard heaters

  • Provides water balance and flow control to heating systems

  • May use either steam/hot water or gravity-fed hot water

  • Sizes: ½”, ¾”, 1”, ¼

Water Stop Valve
  • Toilets

  • Faucets
  • Controls water running to one fixture only

  • Usually installed as a single stop valve for a toilet and one each for cold and hot water for a faucet


Outdoor Valves

Function and Points to Consider
  • Garden hoses

  • Provides water to garden hoses

  • Frost-free sillcocks are ideal for climates with freezing temperature

  • Some areas require the sillcock to have a backflow preventer

  • Sizes: ½”, ¾

Yard Hydrant
  • Garden hoses

  • For use in large yards

  • Connects to water line 1’ - 10’ below ground

Garden Valve
  • Sprinkler systems

  • Has large openings and provides a high flow rate

  • Designs include bent nose for installation against a wall and inverted for use with a riser

  • Sizes: ½”, ¾”, 1”

Irrigation Valve
  • Irrigation Systems
  • Made from brass or plastic

  • Antisiphon valves prevent backflow

  • Valve size may differ from pipe size

  • Requires both control and emergency shutoff valves

  • Sizes: ½ - 4"

Hose Bibb
  • Hoses
  • Controls water flow

  • Supplies both hot and cold water

  • Available in different sizes and designs

  • Can be mounted horizontally to a wall or tank

  • Sizes: ½”, ¾


How to Size a Valve
Choosing the right size valve is important. A valve that is too small won’t let the gas or liquid through at the proper rate; a valve that is too large can cause waste and flow stability problems.


Features to Consider

Actuators open and close valves. Automatic actuators may be pneumatic, hydraulic or electric. Actuators are installed where valves are inaccessible, such as in pipelines or hazardous areas.

Timers are used with automated valves. They allow you to preset operating times for irrigation systems and are useful in areas with water restrictions, off-peak rates, and for watering your lawn when you're on vacation.

Rising Stems
A gate valve controls water flow by sliding a "gate" across the face of the valve, usually operated by a turn handle. If you install a valve with a gate design, look for one with a rising stem, which will make it easier to tell if the valve is open or closed at a glance.

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