I am looking to attach two 1" valves to a drainage line I have coming from my gutter. I would like the option to select which channel the rainwater flows down, using valves. My hurdle right now is finding the right type of valve, as the ones i have seen require a minimum pressure, whereas i will have little to none (all pressure from gravity) It seems like a gate valve would be the right option for this. How can I control the water automatically and with a valve that does not require water pressure to activate?

  • 2
    1 inch valves seem quite small to drain gutters/down sprouts.
    – crip659
    May 25 at 19:10
  • It is an offshoot, used to water some crops. ive recorded 0-50 gph on this line.
    – drew
    May 25 at 19:14
  • and you want it. remote controlled or at least on a switch, in any case it needs to be on a low voltage circuit
    – asinine
    May 25 at 19:22
  • a stepper motor to drive a flap for an inverted Y.
    – Solar Mike
    May 25 at 19:26
  • 1
    @Ruskes Yes, I have a low voltage circuit, last step i need figured out is this valve.
    – drew
    May 25 at 19:28

6 Answers 6


"What type of 1" electric valve can I use in a line with no pressure?" The easiest answer is a ball valve. They come in all sizes and shapes, in your case a 3 way would do the trick. I think 1" is to small for your application but I do not have much information other then it is rain water.


Do you really need "valves" to control rain water? Assuming your two destinations are a barrel and the street, all you really need is a flap.

Use tin snips to create a branch in your down spout, create a makeshift hinge using a stainless steel rod, and put a plastic flap on it. Make the flap out of any piece of plastic.

Look DWV flaps. PVC fittings in various sizes with hinged flaps on one end. Maybe you could adapt one.

Then all you need is an actuator for the flap. Look up "actuator" on Amazon ... there are all kinds of them under $50. At first glance, an easy one would be a 12V automotive one meant for diverting to face/foot vents in a car.

This will all look a bit makeshift, but I suppose that's in keeping with what you're doing? And anything professional, like "flow diverters" for agriculture or commercial HVAC, will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

  • +1 for hitting all the marks!
    – MTA
    May 25 at 22:04
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    – Michael Karas
    May 26 at 1:49
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    May 26 at 1:51
  • What I'm more likely to do is refrain from including images if they are not a critical part of the answer. Especially if I'm on a phone. Maybe if the editor facilitated this ... I enter an image URL and it creates all the markup to include a copy of the image and a link to its source.
    – jay613
    May 26 at 2:13
  • @jay613 Uh… good? Posting from your phone is not an excuse for breaking the very clear rules.
    – nobody
    May 26 at 12:45

You can use a valve that's intended for use as a heating system's zone valve. These are electrically operated and take less than a minute to open fully. They generally operate at 24V AC. They require no water pressure at all to operate.

You can get a straight-through model or a 3-way model that has one opening for "IN" and two openings for "OUT". The motor selects which opening is "OUT". These are just a little more expensive than straight-through models.

Look at the specifications for the valve, and if you want better flow, buy one that has a higher Cv rating. This is the valve's "flow coefficient". The higher the number, the better the flow. Numerically, the number is gallons per minute at a 1 psi pressure drop.

Example below, photo credit supplyhouse.com (I have no connection with them.) NOTE: These are not intended for use outdoors without an enclosure, as they are not weather resistant.


  • That seems to be a solution; however, these do tend to get pretty expensive. I plan on having a few of these, so this can add up quickly. You gave me a good idea, and i will look into using a mechanical ball valve, and attach a electric valve turner of sorts.
    – drew
    May 25 at 20:03
  • @drew Hmmm... "Looking for a simple or commercially available solution." = $$$. But if you want to go cheap and wonky and you have more time than money, have a look at using a 12V DC linear actuator mounted 45 degrees off the flow axis of a PVC ball valve. Cheap PVC ball valves are much harder to turn than brass and steel, but I have a 12V linear actuator with a 4" stroke that pulls or pushes with a force of 225 lbs.
    – MTA
    May 25 at 20:42
  • I would not even make it electric - a float from the barrel to a flap valve could do it, with a bit of tinkering.
    – KMJ
    May 25 at 23:42
  • Picture attribution should have a direct visible link to the place the picture came from. It is not suitable to cite a vague web location.
    – Michael Karas
    May 26 at 1:25
  • @MichaelKaras Thanks, didn't know that. I've added a link to the actual location of the photo.
    – MTA
    May 26 at 11:21

Think about setting it up as two zones on a sprinkler system with two "on/off" valves hooked up to your drain line. You can get the valves at any home store and they are pretty cheap and require no pressure to operate. See picture below from Home Depot. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Orbit-1-in-FPT-Auto-Inline-Valve-57281/300642255#overlay

enter image description here

You can use a controller/timer to operate the valves. It supplies the 24 volts required to operate the valves. See photo from Home Depot. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Orbit-4-Zone-Indoor-Easy-Dial-Timer-57594/300642245 enter image description here

  • Please look at other comments here as to what you need to do regarding images that probably are not your own and thus would direct links to image sources.
    – Michael Karas
    May 27 at 22:00

You could either use a straight wired Solenoid valve such as this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XWGF3CX enter image description here

Or if you want something automated you could use this Valve Controller: https://www.amazon.com/Compatible-Assistant-Application-program-Android/dp/B09L5PB6B7 enter image description here

This one sits on top of an existing Ball Valve and closes or opens the valve depending on the command given.

Note that NEITHER of these are NO (Normally Open) or NC (Normally Closed). In other words, once de-energized they will stay where there are. They use less power since they are only energized when turned on or turned off.

If for example, you want to make sure that the valve is Closed if the power is out or once the requested operation is completed then you will want to look for a NC (Normally Closed) type of valve that will only stay Open as long as it continues to receive a signal.


This could be called rain capture system with fully controlled rain water capturing and distribution system with remote control.

First you will need is Downspout Rain Water Collection Diverter Connector- they come in all forms and shapes.

Then you need 1 or 2 inch hose to feed the barrels. Here you can expand (in the future) to electricity controlled valve to stop the barrel fill, or to redirect directly to plants. For that you can use an inline sprinkler system valves that are already build to work in wet environment

Barrels you can get cheap ($10) at the barrel recycling centers (look for one), just pay attention what was in it before).

Connect multiple barrels (depending how much you want to capture and how much you consume) in parallel at lowest point of barrel and set barrel on bricks to get some elevation for the flow.

  • Those diverters split the flow in some defined proportion with no control. Which is probably all OP really needs, but this doesn't address the actual question of how to electrically divert all the water one way or the other. Good idea to use irrigation valves for some control with this solution. They are so cheap.
    – jay613
    May 25 at 23:39
  • Unless that is your own picture taken at the corner of your house this needs to have proper source attribution in a visible link.
    – Michael Karas
    May 26 at 1:28

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