Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "I wish to purchase the solder type valves. Can they be soldered in place, or should they be disassembled before heating them?"
A. As long as you have some experience with soldering; you shouldn't have any problems. Most beginners tend to overheat their fittings and joints, and so, if you are brand new to soldering, you might want to consider purchasing threaded valves instead of solder types. The valve should be left in place when soldering and not taken apart. According to Kitz, you should leave the valve fully open before heating. First you preheat the valve evenly to about 212 degrees. Also preheat the tubing close to the valve before soldering the valve. Then heat the valve (where you want the solder to flow to). Don't heat the valve body more than one minute and remember, most people tend to over heat. As soon as the solder has become solid, wet the body with a wet cloth to cool it down. Don't open the valve or move anything until the valve body has totally cooled down. Flush the valve and the tube interior with water as soon as the piping work has been completed.
Q. "I am confused about the difference between NPT threads and IPS threads. I need to add a ball valve on old galvanized pipe, and I assumed it was IPS threads, so I thought that I would get an IPS ball valve, but IPS means iron pipe straight thread and galvanized and black iron pipe are tapered. I got myself confused, so could you clarify this?"
A. Just to make it clear, National Pipe Tapered Thread (NPT) is a US standard for tapered threads used on threaded pipes and fittings. NPT compatibility examples are Male NPT also known as Male Pipe Thread (MPT) and Female NPT also known as Female Pipe Thread (FPT). And an IPS is an spaneviation of Iron Pipe Straight Thread which is the Generic Name for Straight Pipe Thread (NPSH). NPT and NPS/IPS are the pipe thread standards. IPS, nowadays, is known simply as Iron Pipe Size and is tapered thread.
Q. "What’s the difference between brass and bronze?"
A. Though they can appear similar, there are some significant differences between these two widely-used copper alloys. Choosing between the two materials for valves or fittings is often an issue of price (brass being less expensive than bronze), but the superior strength and corrosion resistance of bronze makes it the higher-end choice for most applications.
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin (typically ~12% tin). As with most alloys, much smaller amounts of other metals are sometimes used: phosphorous, aluminum and manganese among the most common. Lead used to be another common additive (and still is for some applications), which is why you see so many bronze fittings “not for potable water”. Thankfully, bronze used for plumbing must now meet strict standards for lead content. Stronger than brass, bronze resists cracking and has excellent abrasion resistance and corrosion resistance (especially with regards to salt water, making it a preferred material for maritime applications).
Brass is composed of copper and zinc; other metals like iron, aluminum, manganese and silicon are sometimes added to the mix, but in much smaller proportions. It’s fairly corrosion-resistant, but the zinc within is susceptible to high levels of chlorine - unless special formulations are used which resist this “dezincification”. Brass has a lower melting point and greater malleability than bronze, and valves and fittings can be fashioned in a variety of ways (unlike bronze, which can only be cast). Because of its typically low lead content, brass is the most common alloy for potable water applications.
Q. "Do you carry valves with drains to prevent freezing?"
A. Sorry, but we don't stock self-draining valves.
Q. "Spring vs Swing?"
A. Spring loaded means it has a spring. It tends to seal better (best for potable water pumps), but the spring will wear out easier and does take more pressure to open it. A swing check works on the gravity principle (more reliable in the long run), and it take less pressure to open it, minimizing pressure loss (best for sump, pond, fountain, sewage pumps). A swing check can be used for horizontal or vertical mounting for fluid flowing upward. However, swing check valves are not recommended for applications where frequent reversal of water flow occurs as this can cause the valve (swing disk) to fluctuate rapidly resulting in valve chatter or water hammer noise. Spring check valves are better suited for this type of application and may also be installed horizontally or vertically with upward fluid flow.
Q. "Will these valves hold up to freezing (not break)?"
A. Water subjected to freezing conditions in ANY brand of valve (even if the walls are many times as thick as what we offer) will cause the valve to break. The strength of water expanding during freezing is much greater than any brass valve can withstand.
Q. "Can I use Kitz brass ball valves for hot and cold shower supply lines?"
A. Yes, these Kitz brand ball valves will take 600 PSI pressure for cold water and 150 PSI for hot water up to 366° F. These are very adequate valves for this type of use.
Q. "What is an L-port style of valve?"
A. The Kitz 3 Way Ball valves offered on this page are considered L-Port valves and are designed to be used as a diverter valve. By moving the handle the center port can connect a full flow of water to either one side port or to the other side port. It is not capable of providing a full flow to both side ports at the same time.
A T-Port valve is designed to connect a full flow of water from the center port to either one side port or the other side port or both side ports at the same time, depending on how the handle is moved.
Q. "Why do you prefer to sell Kitz brand valves?"
A. Because of our customer satisfaction level with these great quality valves. We receive many repeat customers with Kitz and it is extremely rare that we ever get one back.
Q. "Can globe valves be used in place of a gate valve?"
A. All globe valves aren't "full flow" as the design of a globe valve won't allow that. Globe valves are good for throttling water flow to a certain speed or volume.
Q. "What does W.O.G. stand for?"
A. Water Oil Gas.
Q. "I've been told that when shopping for ball valves it's most important to make sure the valves are 'full port'. Do you agree?"
A. In most cases/applications we believe that the quality of a valve is more critical because a slightly throttled flow will not impede much flow as the velocity will simply increase - causing some friction loss through the valve but very little as it's for such a very short distance.
Q. "Why are some of these fittings, valves, and nipples not for potable water?"
A. Starting January 1st of 2010, California and Vermont enacted new low lead laws. Effective January 2014, our U.S. Congress also passed the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (public law P.L. 111-380) which revised the Safe Drinking Water Act definition of "lead free" to mean 0.25% or less (weighted average) in pipes and fixture fittings used for potable water. Before then these top quality brass products were legal for potable water and used throughout the world and actually contain much less lead than products manufactured before the 1980's.
Q. "I'm hearing a lot about lead-free these days. What does that have to do with plumbing products and how does the new lead-free legislation affect me?"
A. Basically, the laws implemented Jan. 1st, 2014 require plumbing products that come in contact with drinking water to be "essentially lead free" (less than 0.25% weighted average). For further information about how the law determines what is "lead free", rules regarding which plumbing products must be "lead free", and who these laws will affect, please click here.
Q. "What is Keepalloy®?"
A. Keepalloy® is a globally patented lead-free copper alloy that uses bismuth and selenium instead of lead. Developed by Kitz and NSF certified, this lead-free brass meets the most rigorous criteria for lead-free systems worldwide, including California's AB1953 and Vermont's Act 193 (S.152).