Benefits of Actuated Ball Valves

CMR Electrical were one of the first Water Leak Detection companies in the UK to use Actutated Ball Valves. Read this article to discover the benefits of actuated ball valves in water detection systems. Find out why we rarely use Solenoid Valves.

What is a Solenoid Valve?

Solenoid valves are electromechanically operated valves that convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. They consist of two main parts: an electromagnet and a valve.

What is a Actuated Ball Valve?

An ABVM Actuator rotates a Stainless Steel ball inside the valve to control the flow of water.

How do Solenoid Valves work?

When current flows through the electrical coil within the solenoid valve, an electromagnetic field is created. The magnetic field induces the opposite polarity in the metal plunger which can be made of iron or steel. Because opposite magnetic poles attract, the plunger will be pulled up into the coil causing the valve to open. If electrical power remains supplied to the coil, the valve will remain open. This is how a normally closed valve works. When the coil is de-energized the magnetic field disappears and the plunger falls by gravity, or a spring pushes the plunger to close the valve.

Watch this video clip from Engineering Mindset to see How Solenoid Valves Work.

How do Ball Valves work?

When the valve is positioned such that the bore is aligned in the same direction as the pipeline, it is in the open position, and fluid can flow through it. When rotated 90°, the bore becomes perpendicular to the flow path, meaning the valve is closed, and fluid cannot pass through. 

Watch this video clip from saVRee to see How Ball Valves Work.

Which Valve do I want on my Water Supply: Normally Open or Normally Closed?

Normally Open valves are useful in domestic buildings like flats and office apartments. If the power to the facility goes down the water supply will still be on. Hence all the residents and people working in the property will still have water.

Normally Closed valves are a better choice for industrial areas like server rooms and plant rooms. If the power goes off, it is an advantage to have the water supply turned off. There is less risk of water leaks that will damage sensitive electrical equipment e.g., computer servers.

WRAS Product Approved Valves

The Actuated Ball Valves that CMR Electrical use are WRAS approved. This mean that they meet the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Scottish Byelaws when connecting equipment to the public mains water supply. To become WRAS certified, all products undergo rigorous testing by independent labs and water suppliers. These regulations ensure that water fittings do not waste, misuse, consume excessively, or contaminate the water supply. This ensures that the ball valves that we use in all of our water detection systems are of appropriate quality and standard.

Why CMR Electrical uses Actuated Ball Valves

When we first designed our BREEAM BLDA-2 for WAT02 and WAT03 accreditation, we used Solenoid Valves to shut-off the water supply. However several of our clients started to complain that the valves were not working. After further investigation we found out that the coils had overheated and burnt out. Further complaints came in, when the valve did not fully close properly. It became evident that dirt particles had accumulated around the seat (see diagram above). This prevented the seal making good contact and shutting off the water supply. We looked at using filters within the water pipe to remove the dirt, but this proved to be ineffective.

Five years ago, we made the strategic decision to exclusively offer Actuated Ball Valves with our Water Detection Systems. Since then, we have been consistently impressed by their exceptional performance.

Examples of how CMR Electrical use Ball Valves

The illustration above shows how CMR Electrical use Actuated Ball Valves in a Two Zone BREEAM system. This will allow clients to detect leaks at the boundary line and within the building.

The video clip above shows how the One and Two Zone Leak Detection System – Type LD2-3V can be used with Actuated Ball Valves to shut-off the main water supply in the event of a leak.

Advantages of using Attenuated Ball Valves

Easier to install:

Unlike solenoid valves, actuated ball valves can be installed in any orientation, eliminating the risk of fitting them upside down.

Lower power consumption:

Solenoid valves consume higher power, and their coils can get hot, reaching temperatures of up to 100°C, posing a burn risk if touched. In contrast, actuated ball valves are more energy-efficient and do not generate excessive heat.


Solenoid valves can become stuck in the open position, leading to water flow issues. Additionally, the coil may require replacement over the valve’s lifespan. Furthermore, actuated ball valves are highly reliable, their simple design with fewer moving parts reduces the risk of wear and tear, ensuring long-lasting performance.

More effective flow:

The design of solenoid valves restrict water flow even when fully open. This can decrease water flow and potentially affect showers, resulting in a trickle. Actuated ball valves, on the other hand, exhibit minimal pressure drops, ensuring consistent water pressure. This contributes to an uninterrupted flow and eliminates water hammering noises.

Sensitivity to voltage fluctuations is another drawback of solenoid valves. Improper setup of the magnetic field can cause the valve to partly close, compromising its functionality.


Actuated ball valves offer a versatile and efficient solution for water detection systems. Upgrade to actuated ball valves today and enjoy a reliable and low-maintenance water detection system without compromising performance.

To discover more about how we use Attenuated Ball Valves in office blocks and how you can acheive BREEAM credits please read our article on BREEAM Water Detection.