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Can I Run Water Through an Air Valve?


In this quick video, Mike Kettering, Clippard's Electronic Valves Product Manager, discusses running water through an air valve. Can you do it? Should you do it? And if you're going to do it, what do you need to know?

Video filmed at Clippard in Cincinnati, Ohio


Hi, I’m Mike Kettering, Product Manager for Electronic Valves at Clippard. I often get asked a simple question, can I run water through an air valve? Without knowing all the customer’s details, my short answer is no. But, it really all depends on the valve’s wetted materials.

Many air valves are optimized to be used with clean, dry air. The introduction of water into these valves can corrode and/or significantly reduce the life of the valve. So, let’s examine the wetted materials in the valve.

Wetted Materials

Wetted materials are defined as any material that the media would or could come in contact with. Materials with high iron content could rust and specific o-ring material must also be compatible with water. This 15 mm valve cutaway is a good example of a valve that was designed for air, however, the wetted materials allow for use with water. There are, however, valves that are composed of corrosion resistant materials that can handle water as the media. And now it really becomes all application specific.

Water Valve Applications

If my application is controlling the flow of water as a coolant in a machine, then I am not going to be too sensitive about the quality of the water or any certifications for water use. If my application is dispensing water that a person is going to consume, I am going to be highly concerned with the quality of that water. Therefore, I would not want to use a valve which could potentially introduce contamination. I would likely resort to a valve with NSF or FDA approved wetted materials, such as a pinch valve.

Every application is different. Understanding the needs of the specific application is imperative for selecting the proper valve. And remember, Clippard offers a wide selection of materials to meet the needs of a variety of demanding applications.

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