Ball Valve Installation

Ball Valve Installation

Ball valve

Figure 1: Ball valve

Knowing how to install a ball valve can help prevent leaks and troubleshoot other issues to avoid water damage at home. It is essential to consider the valve orientation and the type of ball valve selected to install the valve correctly. This article discusses how to install a 2-way manual ball valve to a water line made of copper, a common application. However, the same principles apply to other ball valve installations too.

Ball valves allow water supply lines to be connected to industrial and residential applications, like toilets and sinks at home. A leak within the pipe after the mainline can be shut off effectively using a ball valve; Hence the section can be isolated, drained, and investigated for the leak. The ball valves can be connected to the pipe via solder, threads, push to connect fittings or compression fittings. Read our article on electric ball valve installation for more details on how to install ball valves with electric actuators.

Table of contents

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Valve orientation

2-way ball valves are bidirectional valves; hence the flow direction is not crucial, and these valves can be installed in horizontal or vertical pipe sections. But the best method is to set up the valve handle to point in the flow direction (when it is open) as it eliminates possible confusion regarding the flow direction in the future. The orientation of the valve stem is not critical, but the optimal way is to set it up vertically for ease of use. Installing it upside down can cause the accumulation of dirt and other sediments on the stem packing. Install the ball valve with the valve stem facing upwards wherever possible.

Prepare the pipe

A copper pipe carries the main water supply, to which the inlet port of the valve is to be connected. Preparing the pipe before installing the ball valve is crucial; else, it can lead to dirt accumulation within the valve during usage. If cutting the pipe is needed, read our article on cutting pipes for more details on how to cut a pipe section effectively.

Push to connect type ball valve

Clean the pipe with a sand cloth and ensure a clean pipe for installation.

Compression-type ball valve

Slide the compression nut over the copper supply pipe as far as it goes. This gives ample space to work. Then place the compression ring over the end of the supply pipe. Ensure that the compression ring covers the end of the supply pipe completely.

Thread-type ball valve

Remove any existing thread seal tape on the pipe and clean the pipe thoroughly using a wire brush. Ensure that the pipe connection is threaded properly and free of foreign materials for threaded valves. Also, wrap the valve's threads using a thread seal tape or pipe thread compound.

Copper pipe plumbing system

Figure 2: Copper pipe plumbing system

Install the ball valve on copper pipe

This step includes connecting the input port of the ball valve to the copper pipe that supplies water. Ball valves can be installed in any orientation or position, provided there is enough space left for the quarter-turn operation of the lever for valve operation. Turn off the main water supply during the installation process.

Note: If the pipe support system cannot support the entire pipe and valve fittings from a weight perspective, it can lead to structural and property damage that can void the product warranty.

Figure 3: Installing a ball valve to the copper pipe: ball valve (A), valve port to attach supply lines to the equipment like sink or toilet (B), and copper pipe (C)

Figure 3: Installing a ball valve to the copper pipe: ball valve (A), valve port to attach supply lines to the equipment like sink or toilet (B), and copper pipe (C)

Push to connect type ball valve

  1. Press the valve evenly and squarely onto the pipe until it bottoms out.
  2. Pull the valve slightly to keep it locked in place. The fitting mechanism is internal, which ensures a water-tight seal, and it can be removed only with specialized tools.

Compression-type ball valve

  1. Ensure that the valve fitting is compatible with the pipe size.
  2. Cut the pipe to the required length and keep the ends free from defects.
  3. Unscrew the nut and slide the valve onto the pipe.
  4. Insert the pipe into the valve fitting as far as the pipe stops.
  5. Slide the nut back onto the fitting and tighten it by hand until the pipe cannot rotate.

Thread-type ball valve

  1. Thread the valve into the pipe and tighten it by hand.
  2. Secure the pipe using a pipe wrench and tighten the valve using an adjustable wrench. Ensure not to over-tighten the valve as it could damage the threads or break the valve.
  3. Align the piping and the valve properly to prevent cross-threading. It is necessary to align the pipe and valve properly during the assembly to eliminate unnecessary stress on the valve body. Also, the pipe support systems must be capable of bearing the weight of the valves, fittings, pipe, and various contents.
  4. Using a wrench, tighten the connection between the valve and the pipe until you feel the joint is close to being appropriately positioned and the fitting is pointing in the desired direction. If the valve remains stiff and difficult to move while tightening, increase the tightening force and continue as needed. In most cases, the joint will be aligned properly when a certain point is reached. A loose valve, pipe, or fitting connections lead to an improper valve seal, leakage, and failure. Also, try not to over-tighten the valve into the pipe as it can distort the internal parts of the valve or cause stress. For details on installing a ball valve to PVC pipes, read our article on ball valve replacement.
Tightening a ball valve with a grip pliers

Figure 4: Tightening a ball valve with a grip pliers

Attaching output lines and testing

Once the ball valve is installed onto the copper pipe, connect the valve’s output port to the necessary equipment via copper pipes. Turn on the water supply and check for any leaks. Open the newly installed ball valve by turning the valve handle slowly by 90 degrees. The valve is closed when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe (fluid flow) and opened when it is parallel to the pipe. If the valve leaks when turned on, close the valve by giving a quarter-turn to the handle and retighten the connections as needed. All completed systems should be tested thoroughly upon completion for any leaks or loose connections.


Regular maintenance is the most efficient method of ensuring long uninterrupted operational efficiency. Inspect the valve for any possible leaks within the first year of operation and carry out a complete maneuver cycle (moving the handle to open and close the valve) every three months to check the valve for any leaks or corrosion and prevent the formation of scales. Scales are the solid deposits that grow over time through valves and pipelines, causing a significant reduction in the production rates and equipment damage. Check the valve more frequently if it is working in extreme conditions. Read our article on ball valve leakage troubleshooting for more details on troubleshooting a leaking ball valve.

Slip ball valve

A slip ball valve is an innovative valve that favors a ‘slip’ connection allowing easy connection of the ball valves to tubes and pipes. The slip fitting is the best choice to repair a broken pipe or replace a leaky valve. The pipe is cut by a few inches and slid into the ‘slip’ end (marked on the fitting) as far as it goes. The fittings are then released using a disconnect tool (a pair of tongs sold separately). These fittings then slide back onto the other end of the pipe for a successful installation and repair of leaks. Hence, no glue or solder is required for the installation, ensuring easy and fast installation.

Slip ball valve

Figure 5: Slip ball valve

Slip ball valve benefits

  • Slip ball valves make installation easy in tight spaces
  • Faster installation
  • Rescues installation errors

Slip ball valve vs ball valve installation

A standard ball valve installation typically requires multiple steps like cleaning and cutting a portion of the pipe, unscrewing the nuts and sliding the valve into the pipe, and soldering the ends. The steps vary from one ball valve type to the other depending on whether the valve is solder-type, flanged, or compression-type. The process takes more time, and the complexity involved may cause errors during installation.

A slip ball valve allows the copper pipe to be cut out of an existing line and connected back together using a disconnect tool. The tool helps slide the fitting back to the pipe’s other end. The push-to-connect feature helps for quick and easy installation, and the design comes in handy during emergency repairs. A slip ball valve is ideal for use in tight spaces where installing a conventional ball valve can be difficult. Faster installation time and ease of use reduce the errors caused during the installation process.


What does a slip ball valve do?

A slip ball valve allows cutting a portion of the installation pipe and inserting the valve, which can then be clipped onto the pipe, ensuring an easy installation process.

What is the proper way to install a ball valve?

The best way to install a ball valve is to install the valve with the valve stem facing upwards. Connecting the valve in any other way may cause dirt buildup within the valve stem and is not recommended.

Are ball valves bidirectional?

Most ball valves are bidirectional and contain two floating or fixed seats on the upstream and downstream sides.

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