Gate Valve Leakages: Possible Causes and Solution.

In this blog post, you’ll read:the components of gate valves show abnormalities. One of the most devastating cons is leakage. Gate valves leak from different locations due to many reasons. Here are top gate valve leakages with causes and solutions.
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Gate valves are versatile products that are multi-serving. But sometimes, the components of gate valves show abnormalities. One of the most devastating cons is leakage. Gate valves leak from different locations due to many reasons. Here are top gate valve leakages with causes and solutions.

5 Types of Gate Valve Leakage; Causes and Solutions.

600wog gate valve
600wog gate valve

1. External Leakage:

External leakage in gate valves refers to fluid escaping to the surrounding environment. It can occur at the valve body joints, stem packing area, or other external sealing points. External leakage leads to safety hazards, environmental concerns, and potential damage to equipment.

Causes of External Leakage:

  • Faulty Seals: The most common cause of external leakage is the failure of seals. Over time, seals can become brittle or develop cracks. It leads to fluid escaping through the sealing points.
  • Improper Installation: Incorrect installation practices can create gaps or misalignments. It makes fluid leak in the external area. These practices may be inadequate bolt tightening or misaligning components.
  • Damage to Valve Body: Physical damage to the valve body can compromise the integrity of the seal. It also leads to external leakage.
leakage body
leakage body
  • Sealing Surface Irregularities: Irregularities on the sealing surfaces can prevent proper sealing. It includes scratches, nicks, or dents.

Solutions to External Leakage:

  • Seal Replacement: If external leakage is due to faulty seals, the best solution is to replace them. They should be compatible with the fluid and operating conditions. Choosing high-quality seals and correct installation is crucial to achieving an effective seal.
  • Proper Installation: This includes appropriately aligning the valve body and flanges. Tightening the bolts to the recommended torque can prevent external leaks.  
  • Repair of Damaged Components: In case of a damaged body or other components, repair them. Cracked or fractured valve bodies should get repaired to restore the sealing integrity.
  • Surface Restoration: We can restore the surface by machining to seal surface irregularities. This process helps to cut anomalies and improve the sealing.

2. Internal Leakage:

Internal leakage in gate valves refers to fluid passage through the closed valve. It occurs when the gate valve fails to provide a tight seal. It lets fluid flow through the valve even in the closed position. Internal leakage can hurt system efficiency. It leads to unnecessary fluid loss, compromising the system’s safety and reliability.

Brass gate valve on wooden background, monkey wrench brass plumbing fittings
brass gate valve on wooden background, monkey wrench brass plumbing fittings

Causes of Internal Leakage:

  • Poor Sealing: Poor sealing between the gate and the seat let fluid bypass the closed gate. This can occur due to wear or misalignment of the sealing surfaces.
  • Gate Deformation: deformation in the gate affects the seal. Gate deformation can occur due to mechanical stress or foreign object interference.
  • Contaminants: Contaminants can interfere with the gate and seat sealing surfaces. They prevent them from achieving a tight seal. This can result in the gate valve’s internal leakage.
  • Insufficient Gate Closure Force: Less force on closing the gate causes internal leakage. A gap can allow fluid to pass if the gate is not pressed against the seat.

Solutions to Internal Leakage:

  • Seat and Gate Resurfacing: Internal leakage may be due to poor sealing between the gate and seat. Resurfacing these components is necessary. Machining or lapping the sealing surfaces can help restore their smoothness and seal.
  • Gate Repair or Replacement: If the gate gets deformed or damaged, it may need to get repaired or replaced. A right-shaped gate is essential to achieve a good seal and prevent internal leakage.
gate valve structure
gate valve structure
  • Cleaning and Flushing: Removing debris from the gate valve can improve the sealing. Regular flushing of the valve can prevent internal leakage due to buildups.
  • Closure Force: Enough closure force to the gate during the valve operation is crucial. Changing the actuators to provide adequate force can cut internal leakage.

3. Stem Leakage:

It refers to fluid escape along the stem, which extends through the bonnet and operates the gate. Stem leakage can occur when the stem packing or seal fails to provide an effective seal.

main parts of gate valve
main parts of the gate valve

Causes of Stem Leakage:

  • Worn Stem Packing: Stem packing is a component that surrounds the stem and prevents leaks. If it loses its ability to create a proper seal, it causes the stem to leak.
  • Poor Compression of Stem Packing: If the stem packing is not compressed, it will not create a tight seal. This can occur due to improper changes in the packing gland. Inadequate tightening of the packing bolts also causes leaks along the stem.
  • Deterioration of Stem Seal: Some gate valves use stem seals and packing. These seals, such as O-rings or lip seals, can deteriorate over time. Their sealing effectiveness decreases and resulting in stem leakage.
  • Corrosion or Erosion: Corrosive or erosive fluids can cause the stem to corrode or erode. This occurrence often happens in industrial settings. This degradation can compromise the sealing capability of the stem.

Solutions to Stem Leakage:

  • Stem Packing Replacement: Replace the damaged packing material with new, suitable filling. Right packing material is essential based on the fluid and operating conditions.
  • Compression of Stem Packing: Compression of the stem packing is crucial for the seal. The packing gland should adjust to apply enough pressure on the material. It should not exert excessive friction on the stem.
  • Stem Seal Replacement: Stem seals on a gate valve can deteriorate and cause leakage. We need to replace them with new ones made of a suitable material. Proper installation and a secure seal are essential.
  • Surface Treatment: Treating the stem with a coating can restore its sealing capability. It is vital where stem leakage results from corrosion or erosion of the stem surface. Select a coating material resistant to fluid and environmental conditions.

4. Seat Leakage:

Seat leakage occurs between the gate and the seat sealing surfaces. It happens when the gate valve fails to provide an effective seal at the seat.

seat leakage
seat leakage

Causes of Seat Leakage:

  • Damage to Sealing Surfaces: The sealing surfaces of the seat can experience damage. They prevent the gate and seat from making a tight seal, resulting in seat leakage.
  • Debris: Debris, such as dirt, rust, can interfere with the sealing surfaces. Small particles can prevent a proper seal between the gate and seat.
  • Misalignment: Misalignment between the gate and seat can cause uneven contact and gaps. These gaps provide space for liquid to escape. The gate may not make complete contact with the seat if it bents.
  • Low Closure Force: Gaps allow fluid to escape if the gate is not pressed against the seat. Low closure occurs due to mechanical issues or misadjustment of the operating mechanism.

Solutions to Seat Leakage: 

industry gate valve
Industry gate valve
  • Seat Resurfacing: If the sealing surfaces get worn, resurfacing the seat is necessary. Machining or lapping surfaces can also be a good option.  
  • Cleaning and Flushing: Removing debris from the gate and seat surfaces is crucial. Cleaning the gate valve can prevent seat leakage due to unwanted materials.
  • Gate Realignment: In cases where gate warping is the cause of seat leakage, we need to realign the gate. Proper alignment between the gate and seat is necessary for a tight seal.

5. Body Cavity Leakage:

Body cavity leakage is the fluid leakage from the cavity within the valve body. This cavity serves as a space that may need to drain or vent during valve operation. Body cavity leakage occurs when fluid escapes from this cavity. It may be due to improper closure of the cavity drain or seal failure within the cavity.

body cavity leakage
body cavity leakage

Causes of Body Cavity Leakage:

  • Drain or Vent Valves: Gate valves may have drain or vent valves within the body cavity. Fluid can leak from the cavity if these valves are not closed or sealed.
  • Seal Failure: Gate valves have a seal between the cavity and the outer environment. If these seals become damaged or wrong installed, it can result in fluid leakage from the body cavity.
  • Pressure Differences: Pressure differences across the cavity can cause body cavity leakage. If the pressure inside exceeds the external force, fluid can escape through gaps.

Solutions to Body Cavity Leakage:

  • Proper Closure of Drain or Vent Valve: Close the drain or vent valves within the body cavity. During gate valve operation, ensure proper closure of these valves to prevent leakage.
  • Seal Replacement: Replacing is necessary if seal failure is the cause of leakage. Use high-quality seals and proper installation techniques to ensure an effective seal.
  • Pressure Equalization: Reducing pressure differences across the body cavity can avoid leakage. Equalizing the pressure within and outside the cavity can reduce body cavity leakage. You can do it through proper valve operation or installing equalization lines.

How to Avoid Gate Valve Leakage Before They Arise?

Here are the measures for prior protection of the gate valve from leakage.  

Proper Valve Selection:

Consider factors such as fluid type and corrosion resistance when choosing the valve. Selecting a valve with appropriate sealing materials can reduce the risk of leakage.

Maintenance and Inspection:

Devise a proactive maintenance and inspection program for gate valves. Inspect the gate valve components to detect damages. Addressing gate valve leakage issues at an early stage can prevent future leakages.

pn16 gate valve
pn16 gate valve

Correct Installation: 

Ensure you install the gate valve according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This includes proper alignment of the valve body and flanges. Proper installation reduces the chances of mechanical issues leading to leakages.

Optimal Stem Packing: 

Pay attention to stem packing selection and installation. Use high-quality stem packing materials syncing with the fluid nature. Follow the given compression techniques to seal without excessive friction on the stem.

Fluid Control and Filtration: 

Use appropriate fluid control measures to reduce the debris in the system. Install filters upstream of the gate valves to prevent foreign particles in seals.

Adequate Closure Force: 

Apply enough closure force to the gate during valve operation. The proper actuator changes prevent leakages due to the lack of closure force.

Corrosion Prevention: 

Water Pipeline with Valves and Meter Against Gray Wall
water pipeline with gate valves and meter against a gray wall

Use corrosion prevention measures, such as selecting valves with corrosion-resistant materials. Corrosion can compromise the sealing surfaces and lead to leakages.

Training and Awareness: 

Train personnel involved in operating and maintaining gate valves. This includes educating them about proper valve handling and maintenance procedures. It will highlight the importance of inspections to identify potential leakages early on.

FAQs on Gate Valve Leakage:

Q: What is gate valve leakage?

A: Gate valve leakage occurs when the fluid leaks through the valve when it should get closed.

Q: Why does gate valve leakage happen?

A: Gate valve leakage may occur for a variety of reasons. Common contributing factors include seal degradation, improper installation, corrosion, or erosion. It may be due to elevated fluid pressure and mechanical damage.

Q: What does improper installation have to do with gate valve leakage?

A: If a gate valve is not installed well, gaps can let fluid escape. It’s crucial to have the proper installation approaches to prevent leakage.

Q: Can corrosion cause gate valve leakage?

A: Yes, corrosion can cause gate valve leakage. When exposed to corrosive substances, the gate valve can damage its materials.

Q: How does high fluid pressure contribute to gate valve leakage?

A: If the fluid pressure is too high for the valve’s capacity, it can overpower the sealing mechanisms. Pressure spikes can also damage the valve and result in leakage.

Q: Can mechanical damage cause gate valve leakage?

A: Yes, mechanical damage to gate valves can lead to leakage. Scratches by frequent operation or foreign objects can compromise the valve’s sealing integrity.

Q: Why is it essential to fix gate valve leakage?

A: valve leakage can cause environmental concerns and damage surrounding equipment. Thus, it must get treated to avoid such problems.

Q: What to do if I notice gate valve leakage?

A: If you notice gate valve leakage, it’s essential to report it to a responsible adult or supervisor. It may be contacting maintenance personnel or valve experts for replacements.


Gate valve leakages could lead to terrible outcomes. It’s best to adopt proactive measures. If the leaks rise, understand the type and position of the leak. You can then solve every kind of leakage by following the above instructions. The personnel handling the gate valve should be aware of leakage causes and be able to fix them.

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