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What is this valve?

(Just found, and LOVE, this site. Been distracted reading other people's questions)
I'm planning to replace 2 zone valves and these other 4 valves... but don't know what they are exactly.

I assume they're used to balance the flow through the two 'halves' of the zone. I thought I just turn the slot vertical for open, horizontal for close, but a friend told me it's more like they screw in to close. So I'm curious what they're called, how they work, etc., but also wondering if I can replace them with ball valves. They are 30-50 years old, and so corroded they're hard to even turn.
Thanks for any help/advice!


  • bob_46bob_46 Member Posts: 813
    balancing valves the slot indicates the position of the paddle they do not shut off water tight. To adjust them loosen the packing nut adjust the valve and retighten the nut. You could replace them with ball valves. I don't think I have ever seen a zone valve operator like the one on the left.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,860
    I think that they are 1/4 turn balancing valves, (cocks). I have these in a 1961 schoolhouse and found that by loosing the packing bonnet carefully using a good fit flare wrench or 6 point socket, It is brass, one chance to not round the points off. I might have hit it with some form of penetrating oil first, PB is good but smells bad.
    With the packing loose then the screw head will rotate with the right sized screwdriver. If the screw head does not bury like a screw might then it is just a 1/4 turn open to close. You can rotate it round and round to loosen it up. Very touchy with adjustment. I go by feel of hot water flowing or not.
  • SteveInAuroraSteveInAurora Member Posts: 9
    edited September 2015
    Thanks, both of you, for your help! I guess those valves would be easier to adjust if I had known how they work. So far, I haven't been able to find any as simple as those. Not so sure I want ball valves - just thought they'd be easier to adjust - more leverage.
    LOL, that 'zone valve operator' works great; just have to decide which thermostat to run the whole house off of.
  • SteveInAuroraSteveInAurora Member Posts: 9
    I have, in the past, started unscrewing that packing nut, but was fearful of it coming all the way out and having hot, pressurized water coming at
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837

    You don't have to remove the packing nut, just loosen it slightly. And tighten it back up when done.

    I seriously doubt you will need to slow the flow down, so it is probably used as a means of purging individual loops. If the loops are more than 10% difference in length, then you MIGHT have to use them to balance flow, and if you do, do it thermally by getting approximately the same difference in temperature on each loop.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Balance valves I have them to. Like Mark said do your balancing by temperature difference takes some tinkering.
  • SteveInAuroraSteveInAurora Member Posts: 9
    I've used them mainly/only for purging air, which I still have trouble accomplishing.
    They both return "too-hot-to-touch"; is that close enough?
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    edited September 2015
    If you're comfy, I'm comfy. Close 'nuff.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    You will be into the system replacing those zone valves, hopefully, I would use ball valves, balance the loops, and remove the handles. You could also install a purge Tee and drain per loop to make life easier

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