Almost every single industrial process depends on valves of some kind. Even if you’re not actively aware of it, almost every part of your daily existence relies on valves in some fashion.
When the local water treatment plant closes to make sure no water flows into your home, they rely on a valve. And without valves, you wouldn’t be able to get a car oil change.
Now, imagine encountering a valve that didn’t work. How will you address ball valve issues? We’ve got answers. Keep reading to learn about these issues and how to troubleshoot them.
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Stuck Ball Valve
Stuck ball valves can be one of the more frustrating plumbing issues on any domestic or industrial system. Fortunately, there are a few steps that one can take to troubleshoot and potentially resolve this ball valve lockout.
First, it is important to determine if the ball valve is manually operated or if it is automated. This will help you assess the type of problem you’re dealing with.
If the valve is manually operated, you should understand the level of effort necessary to crank the knob. If little or no effort is necessary to move it, the problem may be a result of the loose gearbox or a stuck stem.
If the issue is with an automated valve, the actuator likely governs the valve’s open/close action. In this case, it may need to replacement.
Valve Partially Closing
A partially closing valve can indicate a faulty, misaligned, or worn seal. If the valve turns but does not close completely, the first step is to check the pressure. This is because too much pressure can prevent a tight seal.
If the pressure is normal, you need to check the valve’s seat by removing it and replacing it if necessary. It is also important to ensure that the top entry ball valve is properly aligned and all seals are in good condition.
Wear on the seal can also cause a leak. So replacing the seal can be a smart preventative maintenance technique. If the valve is still not closing, it’s best to seek professional help.
If the valve is leaking, it needs to undergo inspection for any signs of damage to the plunger, gasket, or seat. If the valve does not have a visible problem, the first step is to check the valve’s packing nut. You must tighten this nut to ensure a good seal.
If the packing nut appears to be in order, try hand-tightening the bonnet screws to ensure they are adequately tightened. In some cases, leaking may be a sign of a worn plunger, gasket, or valve seat that needs replacement.
If the leaking continues even after basic maintenance, it can be a sign of more significant damage. You may need to replace the ball check valve altogether.
Sediment and Dirt Buildup
Sediment and dirt buildup can lead to malfunctioning valves, leakage, and stop flow from occurring. Contamination is a primary issue, and if dirt or debris gets into the valve, it can jam the operation and restrict flow.
To address the issue, you should regularly check the valve stem and the sealing surfaces and lubricate the parts as needed. Cleaning the valve regularly will also help prevent a buildup of dirt and sediment. Check for obstructions, perform regular preventive maintenance, and inspect for signs of wear.
Also, be sure to inspect the valve body, valve seat, and valve plug for cracks, chips, and other irregularities. Finally, keep the valve closed at all times when not in use to prevent external particles from entering the valve.
O-rings are necessary to ensure proper sealing of ball valves. When an O-ring has worn out, it won’t be able to do its job to prevent leaks and will need replacement.
To identify if an O-ring is worn out, you should look for any cracks, tears, or damage on the O-ring. When you find a worn-out O-ring, you need to replace it with one of the same size.
If you use a larger O-ring, it will create too much friction, wearing out the O-ring prematurely. On the other hand, a smaller O-ring might not provide enough resistance to keep the seal secure.
Damaged Valve Stem
When checking a damaged valve stem, verify that the stem is screwed into the valve properly. In some cases, the stem can come loose due to vibration or other factors, leading to the handle becoming disconnected from the stem.
To correct this issue, remove the handle, locate the nut securing the stem to the valve, and re-tighten the nut. If the item is severely damaged, or if re-tightening does not resolve the issue, you will need to replace the valve stem.
Once you have replaced the stem, reattach the handle to the stem and secure it in place with the nut. Finally, check the valve for proper operation by opening and closing it several times.
When you are having trouble with your ball valve, you need to determine whether the actuator is receiving any power. If the actuator has a connection to an AC/DC power source, check the power outlet. If the power supply is coming from low voltage, check for any loose connections.
If the actuator has a connection to a higher voltage, such as 24VAC or 24VDC, check that the voltage setting is correct. At the same time, you should make sure that the valve is not wired backward. If all these power checks are good, the next step is to check the actuator to ensure it is operating properly.
Check the filter and ensure there are no obstructions and that the brakes are releasing properly. Then, manually cycle the actuator to ensure it is functioning correctly.
If there are still issues there may be a problem with the controller or a link in the signal chain. In this case, you should contact a qualified technician.
Troubleshoot Common Ball Valve Issues With Our Guide
Ball valves are critical components of multiple industries and can be fixed easily with the right tools and directions. So it is important to thoroughly inspect the valve to identify the root cause of the issue.
However, if ball valve troubleshooting becomes too difficult or frustrating, always consider calling a professional.
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