What valves do | API Gate Valves
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What Valves Do

Like most things in the home, the function of an object is usually just a quick flick of a switch or action done in a second. Stopping for a second to actually understand what something does can be inquisitive and rewarding.

Don’t believe this? Stop and ask someone at home how a light switch works. If they answer ‘you knock it off and on like this’, ask them why it does that. If they can’t then they don’t truly understand how it works. The same happens with radiators. You turn a valve and then wait for a room to get warm. But how does that valve work and what it is doing with your simple turn. If you're moving home with a local estate agency, they will also be able to let you know the requirements. Here’s a quick step by step guide to help understand.

  • You turn the valve
    Water flows in to the radiator that has been heated in the boiler. That simple turn forces new, hotter water in. If it isn’t warm yet or the boiler has just been turned on, then the water coming in won’t make much of a difference.
  • What happens to the water in there?
    It gets pushed out to the outlets at the opposite side, just like a sink. The valve restricts the flow of water that would try to get out.
  • How?
    Heat rises. Hot water forces its way in and to the top. Cold water present gets told to leave the only way it can, towards the alternate side of that water coming in. The valve regulates how much water gets in depending on what temperature you want a room to be at.
  • And where does that water go?
    Through your pipes and in to the boiler again. Otherwise it would just be a waste. You can read a very concise piece on the exact science of water flow from this Wiki article right here.
  • So when does the valve know when to stop?
    It knows when to stop if it’s a valve that can tell temperature. Thermostatic valves (the ones with numbers or symbols on the side) can register when a room reaches the desired temperature and restricts the flow of any more water.
  • Which results in?
    Less water in the pipes and then less need for the boiler to heat more water. A win-win for everyone, depending on what type of boiler a person has of course.
  • And how come the radiator never gets too hot?
    Well if you ever put your hand near a radiator that has been on for a long time and has a traditional or manual valve, you’ll know that it can be very hot indeed. That doesn’t mean the radiator will have boiling water flowing through. It is all regulated by the boiler.