Use of Balancing Valves in Hydronic Systems

In this blog post, you’ll read: This article provides an in-depth exploration of balancing valves in hydronic HVAC systems, essential for regulating pressure and fluid flow to achieve hydraulic balance and optimize energy use. It explains the function of balancing valves in maintaining consistent flow rates and pressures, ensuring each system part receives the necessary supply. The piece distinguishes between different types of balancing valves, including fixed-orifice, static, automatic, and manual, and discusses their roles in preventing system imbalances that can lead to energy inefficiency and maintenance issues.
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Hydronic systems are HVAC systems that distribute heat and cold throughout a structure using water. To meet hydraulic balance within such systems, balancing valves regulate the pressure and passage of fluid. They balance system pressure and optimize energy and operating costs. It creates compatible thermal conditions within the structure when selected and installed.

Achieving equilibrium within a hydronic system relies on the system’s dimensions. For instance, residential systems are more balanced.

This is because of their small dimensions compared to industrial or commercial systems. These systems are likely to be more complex and extensive. In this post, we will show you the use of a balancing valve in a hydronic structure.

What is a Balancing Valve?

Balancing valves help control and balance the flow of fluid in HVAC systems and other fluid systems. It aids in maintaining consistent flow rates and pressures throughout the system. The balancing valve ensures that each circuit and branch receives the necessary supply.

Appropriate installation and selection are crucial for effective operation. They maintain equilibrium in the system’s pressure to maintain the required interior temperature. It reduces energy consumption and maintenance.

Moreover, there are different types of balancing valve;

What Does a Balancing Valve Do in HVAC Systems?

Smart balance valve
Smart balance valve

Fluid flow in an HVAC system is in a constant state of variation because of environmental changes. Building occupancy rates and heat from the sun are two elements that exert an impact on the demand for cooling and heating.

Construct HVAC systems to be capable of providing the desired output when needed. Unbalanced systems lead to the potential for overflow or underflow conditions. This may result in inadequate or excessive ventilation or heating.

Balancing valves ensures the current state of the building. The system supplies the correct flow to each terminal.

How Does a Balancing Valve Work?

  • Hydronic Circuits

Changes in the building’s environment need adjustments to the HVAC system’s fluid flow. A well-designed and built HVAC system will be able to provide the necessary output when required.

  • System Instability

Water continually moves where it can get the least resistance. Unbalanced systems lead to underflow or overflow conditions. It leads to inadequate or excessive heating or cooling.

Different “resistances” caused by lines of varying lengths cause the water flow to decrease as they move from the pump. Head loss grows with pipe length, twists, restrictions, and gravity.

  • Balanced system

The plumbing balancing valve adjusts the “resistance” on all lines. It ensures the system supplies the ideal flow and temperature to each end at any given time.

What Are the Consequences of Imbalanced Systems?

Do you know what happens if the control valve has not balancing system? Without a suitable balancing set and adjustments, getting the correct amount of heat transfer to the right places in a structure is hard. A loss of comfort is the most noticeable result of an unbalanced system. Too low or too high temperatures in the room, or a combination of the two, are often to blame for this cause.

Varying temperatures within a building are a frequent cause of complications. These issues include frozen pipes, shrinkage cracks in wood and drywall surfaces, window condensation, and mold. These issues emerge when some parts of a structure cannot warm to the room air temperature.

Issues with the circulator can lead to damage to bushings or bearings. These issues include using high energy, not working, or operating with high pressure. Additionally, these issues can also be possible results of unbalanced systems.

How Can You Change a Manual Balancing Valve to Sustain System Equilibrium?

Manual balancing valve
Manual balancing valve

Differential pressure gauges assess the variance in pressure between two locations. Experts use this tool to determine outflow rates. They need to adjust the balancing valve to maintain the system balance.

Most HVAC systems have a balance valve between the terminal unit coil and the air handling unit (AHU). Keeping the system balanced by adjusting it needs more than one step. Here are the parts for manual balance valves:

  • Connecting a differential pressure gauge or a circuit setter balance valve tool to the valve’s two test or measure ports
  • Determining the flow rate that needs to go through the balance valve
  • Making changes to the handwheel to get the correct flow rate
  • Repeat the steps above for each balance valve

Uses of Balancing Valves

  • Balancing Valves can balance the outputs of boilers or chillers.

Adding a balancing heater or chiller to a pipe system often alters the flow rate of the entire system. This makes it less efficient. Even these small changes in flow can make it harder for the system to work at its best. These errors cost high amounts of money in lost productivity in an industrial manufacturing system.

In this case, we install water balancing valves in each boiler or chilled water valve system. It ensures the output flow intended and all the other parts can work safely. Each cooling tower needs a balance valve if the chillers are connected to more than one cooling system.

  • HVAC Balance Valves in networks for commercial heating

A boiler room or heat station is often the center of heating pipe networks in companies and industries. They heat a lot of places like offices, apartment buildings, and commercial areas.

Different distances exist between buildings and the heat source. So, we need to install adequate equipment in place to reduce the pressure near the loop. If it doesn’t flow, it won’t meet the design standards. The close end will get too hot while the far end remains too cool.

Each pipe needs a valve to balance the flow. This valve ensures consistent flow between the main pipe and each building. This is the reason why equilibrium valves are vital for maintaining warmth.

  • Domestic HVAC air conditioning pipeline systems

To meet energy-saving standards, align pipes in heating and cooling systems and networks with the intended flow rate. To keep the flow rates even across the system, you install balancing valves on the main pipe, the lift, and the secondary pipe.

  • Thermal Stations

Many stations need a balancing valve when sending hot water from a power plant or boiler room. Each thermal station’s primary loop needs a balance valve to ensure proper water flow.

You should also install an adjusting valve at the secondary loop side of each heat station. It ensures the water flow in each secondary loop is the right amount.

Danfoss type of balance valves
Danfoss type of balance valves

Selection and Specifications Criteria of Balancing Valve

Before specifying the appropriate balancing valve, it is necessary to determine the application’s limitations (mass flow rates, pressure ranges, fluid type, etc.). This segment will outline these criteria to assist you in your search for a balancing valve that fulfills your needs. This section intends to provide general specifications.

However, more specifications may apply depending on the manufacturer and type of valve. Consult your balancing valve supplier about the most suitable in-stock alternative for your designs. You provide them with these specifications so they can get a sense of what functions best.

  • Kind of Valve

Which method of equilibrium is most appropriate for your project? If you only must have fundamental resistance, consider using a simple static balancing valve. However, differential balance valves and other dynamic designs should be considered for active control.

To ensure consistent flow through a system, people use both types of balancing valves in tandem. Thus, you should disassemble each system component and determine the type of balancing required at each stage.

  • Pressure Range and Rated Pressure

Understand the system’s pressure range and determine the specific pressure the valve will face within that range. Determine how the flow rate will change before the valve. It ensures no flow-related complications arise.

These values will show the necessary valve rating and exclude designs that are not suitable. Also, decide if the pressure range will be wide or limited to a small range. This will help determine if a static or dynamic balancing valve is better for the specific use.

  • Size of Pipe

What diameter pipe will you use to connect the balancing valve? The conduit diameter is a critical parameter that affects flow rate, pressure, and many other operational aspects. Some valves only work with specific pipe sizes, so ensure the valve you choose is compatible with your pipes.

  • Equipment for control and test ports

Many valves have instruments and devices to check if they work to control the flow. Determine whether the project requires control equipment. It includes dials, magnetic indicators, and other measurement devices. At the same time, these are desirable but not always essential.

Memory elements can keep a valve’s set point from changing over time. Memory elements can prevent a valve’s set point from changing. However, their usage is contingent upon pre-order specifications. These specifications are important if your system will undergo quality assurance testing.

Complex systems need quality assurance testing to maintain efficiency. In that case, you should consider purchasing a valve with testing outlets.

  • Selection of materials, noise, and safety features

Valves produce noise. The valve emits more noise when you restrict, regulate, or throttle the water flow. When using high or low flow rates, inspect the specified noise decibels, if provided.

Material selection is critical, as you buy a valve that does not cause harm with fluid. When selecting a material, ensure its strength characteristics. This will persist and contribute to the extended function of the project.

Furthermore, consider any safety features that you need to incorporate. These include warning indicators, automatic shutoffs, or any other functionality. This prevents unwarranted time and energy loss.

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