Hidden Vs. Exposed Valves: Where, When, And Why You Would Use Either Type

Stainless steel valves run the gamut in terms of size, function, and purpose. Perhaps the most interesting of all valve features are hidden versus exposed valve types. Here is more on those valve types, where and when you would use them, and why you would use one type over the other. 

Exposed Valves

These valves make up most of the valves on the market. You can see all of the working parts of the valves and how these valves operate, both before and after you install them in a liquid or gas pipeline.

They are some of the easiest valves to fix because you do not have to take them apart completely to find out what is not working before you can fix it. Depending on what you need the valve to do and the size of the valve, they can be simple to very complex. 

Hidden Valves

Hidden valves are valves within other structures. They are categorized and sold as valves, despite the fact that they are encased in something that is not and would not be categorized as a valve separate and apart from the valve located inside it.

A ball valve is one such example. It looks like a sphere-like pipe joint from the outside, but it contains a valve on the inside. A switch, a bar handle, or a captain's wheel-type of valve release is located on part of the ball valve and allows you to control how open or closed the internal valve is.

Hidden valves are nice when you do not want them to be seen for some reason, or when their moving parts would leave little room for other components if they were exposed and not hidden. They are also a good choice when you want to protect the valve and the humans controlling it from the substance that is allowed to flow through the valve.

However, a hidden valve is very complicated to repair, and they tend to wear out a little bit faster than their exposed valve cousins. For that reason, most mechanical repairs involving this type of valve result in a complete replacement rather than opening up the valve to find the worn pieces and replacing just those pieces internally. 

Check out the Valves Your Plant Currently Uses

To determine what valves to buy or how to go about repairing the valves your plant currently uses, recognize first what type of valve you are dealing with. Is it an exposed valve or a hidden valve? Can you substitute the use of one type of valve for another, or would the substitution be a very bad idea? If nothing else, ask your repair technician.