This post is courtesy of Flow-Pac LLC. Our sincere gratitude goes out to them. Please contact Mr. HVAC if you would like to be a guest writer.
When planning or installing your system, the choice between automatic balancing valves or manual balancing valves is not always clear. While each device offers specific benefits, some are a better choice than others given the circumstances; even when multiple options exist, an automatic balancing valve is often the best choice.
In a water flow system, it’s important for the system to be “in balance” so that water flows evenly through all terminals in the system. Balance occurs when the flow through the entire system corresponds to the flow rates designed for it, and if balance is not achieved then the heating or cooling effect intended by the system may not be achieved. Balancing valves are the only way to achieve this – there is no way to adjust flow through the terminals by manipulating pipes alone.
While manual valves may be the right choice for many projects, here are the top five ways that choosing automatic balancing valves can improve your water system:
- Manual balancing valves require system-wide calibration of the flow pressure in order to achieve balance. This means that the installer must calculate the exact pressure needed at each unit and set the valve, an extremely time-consuming process and often surprisingly expensive if the system requires a large number of valves. An automatic balancing valve, however, automatically adjust to changing flow rates to provide the perfect balance for the system even under changing pressure.
- Simplicity and costs. Automatic balancing valves are easier to install and require less maintenance to keep the system running effectively. This means lower installation and operating costs.
- Sensible distribution of units across the system. While a system employing manual balancing valves will require a valve unit at each terminal, brancher, pump, and riser, the same system would require an automatic balancing valve only at each terminal. This both decreases costs and simplifies maintenance by eliminating the need to re-do calculations and readjust the entire water system when needed.
- Greater flexibility. A system using automatic balancing valves can be adjusted easily and can even be expanded or completed in segments.
- Energy costs plus rising and falling room temperatures. The amount of energy wasted by a water chilling or heating system whose valves are not perfectly adjusted to put the system in balance can be enormous. When a system with a temperature-sensitive sensor controlling water flow experiences an excess of flow due to poor valve calibration, the temperature in the room may become colder or warmer than what was set on the thermostat. The system will respond by sharply decreasing flow, causing the temperature in the room to rise and fall suddenly.
Using automatic balancing valves eliminates a range of problems, satisfying the installer, homeowner, maintenance staff, and environment. Installing water heating or cooling systems is certainly a challenging task, but selecting automatic balancing valves will surely reduce costs and keep customers happy.
Flo-Pac LLC is a premier provider of automatic and manual balancing valves, venturi flow meters, hookup components, calibration equipment, and more. For more information, visit http://www.flo-pacllc.com.