Industrial Valve Tags Demystified

Industrial valves and pipes

If you are an HVAC engineer or building maintenance manager, do you prefer to do things the easy way—or the hard way?

The answer should be obvious; yet the question is more than a rhetorical one.

In the masterful 1985 sci-fi comedy Brazil, filmmaker Terry Gilliam depicts a bleak, dystopian industrial society where everything is done the hard way. In this satirically imagined dysfunctional world, all machines are Rube Goldberg devices that function poorly, if at all. Electric wires dangle from shower heads. Individual telephones each have their own switchboard. Computers consist of bare cathode ray tubes from which big black hoses protrude. And—as seen in this clip from the film—the hardware innards of buildings are revealed to be an impossibly complex, hopelessly tangled muddle of unlabeled cables, ducts, pipes, valves, and rubber bladders. It is a plumber’s and pipefitter’s worst nightmare.

Unfortunately, this level of structural chaos is all too easy to achieve in a commercial building without clear labeling of its various conduits. And it is exactly the sort of dysfunction we at Ketchum Mfg. Co. strive to help our customers avoid with our lines of quality industrial tags.

In addition to aluminum cable ties for professional cable management, we also manufacture industrial valve tags for plumbing and other applications. Designed to positively relay important information about the pipes and valves to which they are affixed, these plumbing valve tags are available in steel or brass. They can be purchased in sets of 25, sequentially numbered; or, with our custom laser engraving, you can include additional identifying information on the tags (such as a logo, special symbols, or specific text).

These valve tags not only make it easy to quickly distinguish one type of pipe, control, or conduit from another; they may also be a necessity for building safety inspections, and they can help reduce instances of disastrous pipe-related accidents and costly repairs.

Ketchum’s valve tags have particularly useful application in the HVAC (“Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning”) industry, where the sheer variety of conduit and control types makes clear labeling an essential part of good building management. To illustrate the point, here are just a few of the most common types, along with their standard HVAC abbreviations:


Chilled Water


Domestic Hot Water


Fire Protection


Low Pressure Steam



Below you can download and print this handy reference card listing more of these common HVAC industry abbreviations.

And then visit our website to browse our selection of industrial cable ties and plumbing valve tags. Because at Ketchum, our goal is always to help our customers do things…the easy way!

Infographic: Common HVAC Abbreviations
Click to download as PDF
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