When to Use Brass Valves?
Brass is an amazing copper alloy used extensively in a variety of valve designs, configurations, and applications. While a malleable material, brass makes extremely durable fittings and valves. It can handle high temperatures, making it ideal for water and steam, and is fairly corrosion resistant, as well. It is also spark resistant, and recyclable, making the answer to the question almost obvious: whenever you can!
Typical Applications of Brass Valves
Typical in the household, brass valves are also common in light industrial applications for many of the same reasons. They are frequently used in "shut-off" applications for water, steam, compressed air, and natural gas lines.
- Water and Steam Lines: Water and steam both can generate excessive amounts of heat. Microorganisms--which thrive in heat-- can cause corrosion. While it is not generally a concern for industrial steam lines, one of the reasons brass is used in water lines is for its copper content, which makes it germicidal. Copper kills germs in water on contact, making water less corrosive, and safer to ingest. It is also brass's rust resistance which makes it an excellent choice for valves in water or steam lines, as heat accelerates the rusting process. Most brass valves also contain a fair amount of aluminum, which creates an oxide layer on the surface, much in the same way as stainless steel. This thin layer is a barrier against corrosion, which can be caused by water with high saline concentrations.
- Compressed Air: Brass valves are used in compressed air applications for some of the same reasons they are used in water and steam lines, to deter rust and corrosion. Compressed air contains--or can draw--moisture, which can cause rust. From time to time, compressed air systems need to be "dried out," as they have drawn too much moisture from the air. HVAC units in coastal areas are especially prone to corrosion from seawater, and should always use brass valves where applicable.
- Natural Gas and Hazardous Locations: Natural gas may contain water and other corrosive contaminates like chlorides, and therefore requires the use of brass valves. But brass valves are used on gas lines for another reason, as well--brass will not spark, which could easily cause an explosion. This particular quality is of the utmost importance in any area that falls under the Hazardous Locations label, which typically require any type of valve to be made of brass, bronze, or any material that is non-sparking, or not likely to spark.
Today's brass is far superior to that first created by the metallurgists of old, though we still use it for many of the same reasons because of its unique characteristics. At our valve shop, we stock lots of brass, of every shape, grade and configuration--valves for every conceivable application. We've been in the valve business for over 50 years. We sell industrial grade valves. In fact, all we sell are valves. It's what we do, and we do it better than anyone else.