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Manual Valve Uses.

Intplm.
Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
I have noticed over many years the use of ball valves being used on steam systems of all types. I for one have many concerns about ball valves being used for steam. I have had people turn them on too quickly, or off too quickly. Shut them off accidentally. And turn them on accidentally ( the valve handle gets caught on clothing when walking by etc.) I try to use gate valves and globe valves when involved with steam. Has anyone had similar issues? If so. What happened, and what did you do about it? I look forward to hearing your opinions and experiences.

Comments

  • I think ball valves are a good choice as drain valves on wet returns and boilers. The handle should be taken off, and stored separately to prevent accidental opening.
    Gate valves are ok for steam supplies, but should have the stem mounted horizontally. The one drawback can be disconnected gates inside.—NBC
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,935
    If you want to insure a ball valve stays on, you could install a SS hose clamp large enough to go around the handle and it's pipe.
    A hose thru the end of the handle and the clamp with a 1/4" screw/nut securing the clamp from sliding down.

    For a ball valve to stay off, I have formed a length of flat steel clamped around the pipe and drilled the other end and the handle for a 1/4" screw/nut.

    Both of these methods require simple tools to change the position of the handle, and awareness of what you might be doing.
    SuperTech
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,044
    OK. We're talking saturated steam here.

    Globe valves will cause a significant portion of the steam to condense. Thus they are should be used only in situations where the heat release and loos of steam downstream is acceptable -- such as the inlet valves for radiation. Simply put, nowhere else.

    Gate valves, provided they are full port (not all are} are usable as sectioning or zoning valves for steam, provided, as has been mentioned, they are mounted horizontally. The exception is they can be mounted with the stem up if the application is one where fail off -- closed -- is desirable for some reason. If I use gate valves, I much prefer the rising stem variety, as there is an immediate indication of stem position, if not gate position.

    Full port ball valves are to be preferred. If there is a risk of accidental operation, the handles can be removed as has been mentioned. If there is a risk of malicious operation, they can be secured by various means. If there is a risk of misguided operation, may I humbly suggest that retraining the party might be appropriate? If not removal...

    The OP mentions a concern regarding closing or opening ball valves too fast. This should not cause a difficulty in most low pressure steam systems (it can cause problems in high pressure high power systems, if they are not properly designed). I would be interested in knowing what problems the OP has encountered in this regard (fast acting valves -- of any sort -- can cause problems, even major problems, when operating on water or other incompressible fluids -- but that's not the case here)( and further consider the fast acting valves in a railroad steam engine -- which, at full song, operate from full open to full closed at about 400 times per minute! -- controlling upwards of 6,000 horsepower!)
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    @Jamie Hall I agree. The thing with ball valves, and I have to say they are my preferred valve . Is that all too often, often enough, I have come across issues with people using them as if they are opening a faucet. This has done (as I'm sure you can imagine,) some damage.
    I have worked mostly with low, medium, and high pressure steam systems in commercial and industrial settings. Ball valves are often used conveniently to isolate steam traps for servicing.
    I have never had an issue with a rising stem full port gate valve used for the same reason. And I prefer the gate valves to be installed upside down.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    Gaskets blown out by opening a ball valve quickly while under pressure after repairing a steam trap
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,253
    @Intplm.
    I like gates on steam but the cheap one leak and good one are $$

    Ball valve , some are steam rated some are not. I think the regular Apollos are rated for steam. I like the carbon steel ball valve Apollo make for steam ...even high pressure steam.

    As far as accidently opening and closing you can but "locking handle" kits for most of the decent ball valves. This make is impossible to move by accident. It's just a little slider on the handle that has to be moved before the valve position can be changed.
    Intplm.STEVEusaPA
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    I like the slider idea. Have seen that on larger valves, not on the smaller diameter.
    I guess I have been coming across the cheaper version. And probably not the ones rated for steam.
    @EBEBRATT-Ed How can we identify if a ball valve is rated for steam ones it has been long since installed? There are many brand names. Is there a I.D. like "WOG" on some valves?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,253
    @Intplm,
    yes valves come with a tag usually a little plastic tag which of course falls off. I guess the cheap one don't.

    I am not sure how ASTM ..American society of testing materials rates valves. I will have to look into this curious myself.
    Intplm.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,935
    What is "WSP".....I always thought Working Steam Pressure?
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    JUGHNE said:

    What is "WSP".....I always thought Working Steam Pressure?

    @JUGHNE I have seen "WOG"- Water Oil Gas ? But I don't remember seeing "WSP" on a valve engraving?

    @EBEBRATT-Ed Thanks for looking into this.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,710
    Why not remove handles from quarter turn valves? What I don't like is when somebody leaves one partially open/closed.

    Years ago there was some efforts with clipped or drilled butterfly valves for throttling.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,044
    jumper said:

    ...
    Years ago there was some efforts with clipped or drilled butterfly valves for throttling.

    They were sometimes used on big aqueducts and penstocks in the earlier days, until cone valves came to be available. Trouble with butterflies -- at least on the larger sizes -- is that the torque on the valve stem can be very high at part opening. Anything bigger than a few inches really needs a worm gear, non-reversible actuator...

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    jumper said:

    Why not remove handles from quarter turn valves? What I don't like is when somebody leaves one partially open/closed.

    Years ago there was some efforts with clipped or drilled butterfly valves for throttling.

    The problem with removing the handle is that it gets moved miss-placed or lost.
    I'm wondering if ball valves should have just a "tee" handle? No levers?

    Partially open or closed has been a trouble shooting problem. It"s not always easy to find, and so simple when you do find it, you don't always believe that you have actually found the problem?🤨
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    T

    jumper said:

    ...
    Years ago there was some efforts with clipped or drilled butterfly valves for throttling.

    They were sometimes used on big aqueducts and penstocks in the earlier days, until cone valves came to be available. Trouble with butterflies -- at least on the larger sizes -- is that the torque on the valve stem can be very high at part opening. Anything bigger than a few inches really needs a worm gear, non-reversible actuator...

    @ Jamie Hall The "cone valve" that you mention above. Is that the same as a resilient wedge valve that Watts brought to the industry...... ? Curious .

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,044
    Not really -- they look and function rather like titanic needle valves, only with a much steeper taper. As one opens and closes them, the moving cone moves away from or towards a seat -- as the case may be -- and the water flows around the cone (which is streamlined on the downstream end -- they are installed to close against pressure, to avoid difficulty in unseating them from a closed position).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    Thank you. Always appreciate your input.
  • B_Sloane
    B_Sloane Member Posts: 56
    generally, I use flanged gate valves, obviously not in residential
    sometimes I drill a hole in the gate to keep the downstream piping warm if someone closes the valve
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 489
    edited January 2020
    My choice for steam valves are steel OS&Y valves especially if you are installing them on high pressure steam systems . Brass ball valves even Apollo valves made in the USA will not take the temperature of high pressure steam and low pressure steam greatly reduces the life of a brass valve. If you are going to do quality work, use quality parts and accessories. As @JamieHall referenced, If the job allows, install a valve with a "cone type or tapered seat" so you can control the initial flow of the fluid. For smaller valves my choice would be steel or carbon steel gate valves. Ball valves have their place just make sure that they are marked USA and are quality names and not the foreign crap. If you are worried about someone opening the valve by mistake, you can remove the handle. my 2 cents
    B_Sloane
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,253
    @retiredguy
    Apollo make locking handles for ball valves so they can't be opened or closed accidentialy and they provide a place for a padlock.

    Apollo also make carbon steel ball valves that hold up well on steam
    Intplm.Hap_Hazzard