HOW FLOAT BALL VALVES WORK – Plumbing Tips
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This video will tell you how a float ball valve works and how to service and repair one. Includes the change of nozzle or jet and washers, ball float and pin.
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Word, and welcome to today’s plumberparts.co.uk video. I know, I’ve hurt my finger. I did something under the floor of a house that involved me cutting a pipe and a bit of water coming out and I had to put my finger over the pipe. But as everyone knows, when you cut a bit of copper pipe, it’s really sharp on the end and I cut my ickle finger. But I stopped the leak, sorted out the heating system, sorted out the problems.
Anyhow! We are here today to look at ball valves, or float valves, and see how they work. I’m going to show you a couple of places where you actually have them. I would show you a system that’s got one in it in the loft, but there’s no point and I can’t be bothered to go in the loft. So I’m just going to show you one here now that’s in a toilet. Let’s have a look at that now.
Here is the ball valve. This is an air-tight ball full of air. As the water rises up, this ball is pushed up and acts against the valve at this end. If we flush this toilet (splashing sounds), the ball drops, water starts coming out. There’s loads of different types of ball float valves out there, and they all look roughly the same, some of them are different and they have different ways. The one I just showed you there is a bottom entry one. Some of them just come in at the side. But the one thing about them is that all work in the same way. They all have a ball float that, when the water level rises, that lifts up and acts an arm against the valve to close it. Let’s have a look at an old brass type one, I’m gonna strip it down now for you now in the shed, we’ll have a good look at that, and that should give you a pretty good idea about how these work. And also, if it starts to leak, how to fix one. (loud crashing) It’s a shed, it gets used, so don’t judge me. You can, for a start, replace the floats. It just unscrews. If you find sometimes, you go into your loft, and you find that the arm is down like this, and the ball is underwater, generally, all you need to do is change just the ball float. So that’s pretty easy. All you have to do is unscrew it, and then screw the new one on. Just like so. The next thing we can look at is the actual valve itself. Usually, the arm comes straight. This one’s been bent down to actually suit the installation it’s gonna go in. Sometimes if you find that your water levels come up too high, all you need to do is just bend the arm lightly, just a little bit. Take the valve out and bend it across your knee somehow. Or you can sometimes do it in the system itself if you’re absolutely mentally strong. Like me. If you’ve got a reasonably high level, all you need to do is bend this and it’ll act more pressure on the valve and actually shut it off. What happens if the ball is full of air and is fine, this is up, like that, and it’s shut, but this valve keeps on dripping? If you want you can remove the valve from the system, take the two holding nuts off, and then pull the valve out. Make sure, obviously, your water’s off. Then you’re at a position where you can actually strip down the valve. Let’s take you over to the desk and we’ll do that now. The first thing you have to do, if you look inside here, can you see that moving in and out with that arm? We’re gonna take all this lot out and I want to show you how to fix it if it’s leaking. First thing you do is, this pin here has to be straightened and pulled out. I want you to pull that out nice and easy now. That’s one side, look after it. Now this arm, the actual arm, will come out. Nice and easy. The next bit you want to do is grab this nut nice and tightly, and using another pair of grips, grab the body of the valve and undo this nut. Be careful when you remove this bit because there’s a small washer that might fall out. Just here. Generally, when you’re doing any work on these, you’ll pull that washer out and replace it. Now we’re getting to the bits that sometimes leak. This is the jet. This actually regulates how much water comes out. The water comes out of this small jet just here, as you can see. You do have different types of jets. If you want the water to fill up more, you can have a red jet, which has got a large hole. Or a white jet that’s got a slightly smaller hole. A set like this is a great way to start when it comes to fixing these, because you’ve got different types of valve washers, you’ve got replacement seals, replacement jets, and even replacement pins if you need them.