What Is a Balancing Valve?

In this blog post, you’ll read:A balancing valve is a type of control valve used to balance the flow of liquid or gas in the system. By regulating the size of its opening, the system's operation can be adjusted through even the distribution of fluid pressure. In various commercial and home applications, balancing valves play a crucial role. 
Table of Contents

A balancing valve is a type of control valve used to balance the flow of liquid or gas in the system. By regulating the size of its opening, the system’s operation can be adjusted through even the distribution of fluid pressure. In various commercial and home applications, balancing valves play a crucial role. 

smart balance valve
smart balance valve

Why Do We Need the Balancing Valve?

In piping systems, balancing valves ensure consistency by regulating and correlating pressure levels in disparate locations. Maintaining proper flow rate performance maximizes efficiency and prevents common problems that can contribute to system failure.

This way, balancing valves serve as crucial assurance toward high-pressure or high-temperature damage to other valves and piping components. The connection between the relative flow rate and the relative valve opening is linear. Each balancing valve must have a precise valve opening indicator that displays at least 1% of the valve’s maximum opening range.

Understanding the Functionality of Balancing Valves:

Balancing valves, or circuit setters, are vital components in heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and plumbing systems. The primary function of these valves is to create a planned flow resistance and precisely measure and adjust the fluid flow through it. They control the fluid flow (usually water or a water-glycol mixture) in a system, which helps achieve proper heating or cooling in a building and improves system performance.

Balancing valves are an essential part of HVAC systems. They maintain an equilibrium in water or air distribution across the system. By avoiding any imbalance in the flow, these valves can reduce energy consumption, enhance system efficiency, and save costs. Moreover, they help enhance the lifespan of the HVAC system by preventing undue stress on any single component.

2 types balance valve
2 types balance valve

Working Principle of Balancing Valve

The working principle of a balancing valve involves a combination of flow restriction and pressure differential. Here’s a detail of how it works:

1. Flow restriction: A balancing valve is designed with an adjustable orifice or flow-restricting element inside the valve body, such as a plug or a disc. This orifice restricts the flow of fluid passing through the valve.

2. Pressure differential: The valve has two main ports: the inlet and the outlet. As fluid flows through the valve, there is a pressure drop across the orifice due to the flow restriction. This pressure drop creates a pressure differential between the inner and outer ports of the valve.

3. Balancing mechanism: This valve incorporates a mechanism, such as a diaphragm or a spring, that responds to changes in the pressure differential. This mechanism is connected to a movable element, such as a valve stem or a control knob.

5. Balancing the flow: A balancing valve aims to achieve a balanced flow distribution among the different branches or circuits of the system. By adjusting the valve, the flow resistance in each branch can be modified to achieve the desired flow rate.

6. Monitoring: In some cases, a balancing valve may include pressure measurement points at various locations in the system. These pressure taps allow for accurate monitoring of the pressure differentials across the valve and the branches, aiding in the balancing process.

Types of Balancing Valve

Statistic balancing valve:

static digital lock balance valves
Static digital lock balance valves

Balancing valves come in various types and sizes to meet the requirements of different systems and applications. The selection typically depends on factors like the nature of the fluid, the operating pressure and temperature, and the system’s specific needs.

Types of Balancing Valves:

  • Static Balancing Valves: These are the most common type and are designed to balance the flow in hydronic heating and cooling systems. They can’t adjust the flow dynamically, meaning their settings are fixed during the system balancing process.
  • Dynamic Balancing Valves: Also known as automatic or self-acting balancing valves, these adjust the flow rate automatically in response to changes in the system. They are designed to maintain constant flow regardless of pressure fluctuations in the system.
  • Thermostatic Balancing Valves: These valves are designed to balance the flow based on temperature requirements, making them suitable for domestic hot water systems.
  • Differential Pressure Control Valves (DPCV): DPCV’s main purpose is to maintain a constant differential pressure across a specific part of the system, which can be particularly useful in large, complex systems with multiple zones.

Sizes of Balancing Valves:

Balancing valves are available in various sizes, from smaller diameters for domestic use to large diameters for industrial applications. The typical sizes range from 1/2 inch to 12 inches, though larger sizes can be found for specific industrial applications. The pipe diameter usually determines the valve’s size in the system.

When choosing the size of a balancing valve, it’s essential to consider the system’s pipes and the flow rate requirements. Selecting a valve that’s too large or too small can affect the efficiency and balance of the system.

It’s recommended to consult with a technical expert or use a sizing chart provided by the manufacturer when choosing the right size of balancing valve for your specific application.

Fixed orifice balancing valves

Fixed-orifice balancing valves are a type of static balancing valve with a set orifice, like a Venturi insert, and pressure/temperature ports that let the pressure difference across this orifice be measured. Since the opening stays the same when the valve is adjusted, it is easy to figure out the system’s flow rate by measuring the pressure drop across the ports. This kind of manual balancing valve allows testing to work more quickly.

Automatic balancing valve:

Automatic balancing valves are also called dynamic balancing valves and pressure-independent balancing valves. These valves are made to make the system work effectively so that the flow rate stays the same, even if the pressure difference changes. Unlike static balancing valves, these valves have parts inside that move to adjust for fluctuations in differential pressure. This makes them work better when the load changes.

Automatic Balancing Valve Vs. Manual Balancing Valve: The main difference

Manual Balancing ValveAutomatic Balancing Valve
Low cost per unit at the time of investmentCost and time  savings throughout  the lifetime of the system
Valves are needed at both the end units and the riserFor the system balancing, it requires no adjustment for each valve
Pressure-dependent fluid controlPressure-independent fluid control
Automatic Balancing Valve Vs. Manual Balancing Valve

Our Product: Brass Balancing valve:

A brass balancing valve provides precise control over the temperature of a system. The terminals of the heating system receive the water flow rate that is being produced by the system. It is necessary to ensure that hydraulic systems have accurate water balances to ensure that they operate by the drawing design criteria, offer a high level of thermal comfort, and have a low level of energy consumption.

  • Role of flow meter:

A flow meter is built into this particular series of valves to read the regulated water flow rate directly from the device. It is housed in a bypass circuit located on the valve’s body. During regular operation, it can simply turn off the valve, which makes it possible to quickly and easily achieve a balance in the mixing water of circuits that do not require differential pressure gauges. The insulation of the hot pre-formed shell is pre-installed in the valve to ensure optimal thermal performance, whether the water being used is cold or boiling.

A balancing valve’s working pressure and temperature are crucial parameters that dictate its performance and suitability for specific applications.

  • Working Pressure:

The working pressure, also known as the maximum allowable pressure, is the maximum pressure that a valve can handle during normal operation. This pressure depends on the design and materials used in the valve. For balancing valves, typical working pressure ranges may vary significantly based on the application and type of system used. For example, some residential balancing valves may operate at pressures as low as 20 PSI, while others designed for industrial applications could handle pressures upwards of 600 PSI.

  • Working Temperature:

The working temperature is the range of temperature under which the valve can operate without any degradation in its performance. This temperature range depends on the type of materials used in the valve’s construction. For instance, valves made of brass or bronze often have a working temperature range from -20°C to 120°C (-4°F to 248°F), while stainless steel valves can handle higher temperatures.

It’s important to consider working pressure and temperature when selecting a balancing valve for a particular system. Using a valve outside its specified pressure or temperature range could lead to failure or reduced lifespan. Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications or consult a technical expert when selecting a valve to ensure it suits your system’s operating conditions.

danfoss type of balance valves
Balance valves

Why Balancing Valves are Essential for Your Plumbing System

Balancing valves are integral components in a plumbing system, ensuring an optimal and energy-efficient operation. These valves are designed to balance the flow of water or any other fluid in a system, reducing the potential for noisy operation, inefficient energy use, and undue wear and tear.

  • Efficient Energy Usage:

Balancing valves are designed to maintain a pre-set optimal water flow in a system, regardless of pressure variations. By regulating the flow, they help the system work within the optimum efficiency range, preventing excessive energy use due to unnecessary water flow or pressure.

  • Prevents Noise and Damage:

High water velocity can lead to noisy operation and potential damage without a balancing valve. It can cause erosion and cavitation, resulting in leaks or premature system failure. Balancing valves helps prevent these issues by controlling the water velocity within safe limits.

  • Ensures Comfort:

In heating systems, balancing valves ensure an even distribution of hot water to all radiators, resulting in a consistent temperature throughout the building. Some radiators may become too hot without these valves, while others stay cold, causing discomfort.

  • Facilitates System Diagnosis:

Many balancing valves have built-in flow measurement devices, allowing for easy system diagnosis. They enable technicians to quickly identify any issues with the system, such as blockages or leaks, leading to faster troubleshooting and repair.

In conclusion, balancing valves provide essential benefits that improve the performance and lifespan of your plumbing system. Ensuring an even and regulated flow enhances the system’s efficiency, provides comfort, and facilitates maintenance procedures. Always consider these benefits when designing or maintaining your plumbing system.

Balancing valves play a crucial role in ensuring optimum water flow rates in various systems, particularly in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. These valves are designed to balance, regulate, and measure the flow of water or other fluids, contributing to energy efficiency and system longevity. Here’s why they are essential in guaranteeing optimum flow rates:

statistic balancing valve
statistic balancing valve

Ensuring Optimum Water Flow Rates

1. Precision Balancing:

Balancing valves are engineered for precise adjustment. They allow you to control the fluid that passes through your system with exceptional accuracy. This precision balancing ensures that all parts of your system receive the right amount of fluid, leading to better performance and efficiency.

2. Enhanced Energy Efficiency:

By ensuring the correct flow rate, balancing valves help improve your system’s energy efficiency. When the flow rate is too high, the system has to work harder, using more energy. On the contrary, the system may not function properly when it’s too low. Balancing valves help maintain the right balance, promoting energy efficiency.

3. Flow Measurement:

Many balancing valves come equipped with a flow measurement feature. This feature enables you to monitor the flow rate directly on the valve, ensuring the system works within its intended parameters. It also aids in troubleshooting, allowing for immediate detection of any irregularities in flow rate.

4. System Longevity:

By ensuring optimum water flow rates, balancing valves indirectly contribute to the lifespan of your system. An unbalanced system can lead to wear and tear, resulting in potential leaks and system breakdowns. Balancing valves helps prevent these issues, enhancing your system’s longevity.

In summary, balancing valves are instrumental in ensuring optimum water flow rates in your system. They help maintain a balance, regulate the flow, and measure the flow rate, leading to improved performance, energy efficiency, and system longevity.

automatic balancing valve
automatic balancing valve

The Key to Effective Temperature Control

Balancing valves are essential for effective temperature control in HVAC systems. These valves help ensure that each part of the system gets the right amount of heating or cooling, promoting an even temperature distribution. Here’s how they contribute to effective temperature control:

1. Ensuring Even Distribution:

Balancing valves ensures an even fluid distribution throughout the system, which is crucial for maintaining the desired temperature in all areas. Without them, some parts of the system might receive too much heat or cooling, while others may not get enough.

2. Reducing Energy Consumption:

By maintaining the appropriate flow rate, balancing valves help minimize energy waste. If the flow is too high, the system will consume more energy to maintain the temperature. Conversely, the system won’t reach the desired temperature if it’s too low, leading to energy wastage. Balancing valves ensures the flow rate is correct, optimizing energy usage.

3. Minimizing Noise and Vibration:

An imbalanced system can cause noise and vibration, affecting the comfort level. Balancing valves helps reduce these issues by ensuring a smooth and consistent flow.

static digital lock balance valve
Static digital lock balance valve

Insights into the Design and Operation of Balancing Valves

Balancing valves are designed to regulate, measure, and balance fluid flow in a system. Their operation involves several key features:

1. Adjustable Opening:

The primary feature of a balancing valve is its adjustable opening. The size of this opening can be modified to control the fluid flow, enabling precise balancing.

2. Flow Measurement:

Many balancing valves come with an integrated flow measurement feature, which allows for immediate detection of any discrepancies in flow rate.

3. Durable Design:

Balancing valves are built to withstand the demands of HVAC systems. They are typically made from materials like brass, which is known for its durability and resistance to corrosion.

Balancing valves are integral to HVAC systems, ensuring effective temperature control and system balance. Their design and operation are a testament to their importance in optimizing system performance and energy efficiency.

Choosing the Right Balancing Valve for Your System

Selecting the correct balancing valve for your system depends on a few key factors:

1. System Requirements:

Different systems have different requirements regarding flow rate, pressure, and temperature. Understanding your system’s specific needs is essential to choosing the suitable balancing valve.

2. Valve Size:

The size of the balancing valve should correspond to the size of the pipe in the system. Valves that are too large or small can affect system performance and efficiency.

3. Valve Material:

The material of the valve is another important consideration. Materials like brass are durable and corrosion-resistant, making them suitable for most systems. However, specific environments may require other materials.

4. Flow Control Options:

Another factor to consider is the type of flow control provided by the valve. Valves with integrated flow measurement can be beneficial in systems where precise control is necessary.

5. Cost:

Lastly, the cost of the valve is a factor to consider. While choosing a valve that meets all your needs is essential, it should also fit within your budget.

balance valve test leakage
Balance valve test leakage

Benefits of Balancing Valves in Plumbing Systems

Balancing valves brings several benefits to plumbing systems:

1. Improved System Efficiency:

Balancing valves can improve system efficiency by ensuring an even distribution of fluid and optimal flow rates. This can help reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.

2. Enhanced System Longevity:

By maintaining a balanced flow, these valves can reduce wear and tear on system components, enhancing system longevity.

3. Reduced Noise and Vibration:

Balancing valves can help reduce noise and vibration in the system, contributing to a quieter and smoother operation.

4. Easier Maintenance and Diagnostics:

With their integrated flow measurement capabilities, balancing valves can make identifying and resolving issues easier, simplifying maintenance and diagnostics.

The correct balancing valve can enhance system performance and efficiency, reduce operating costs, and improve system longevity. It’s a critical component in any efficient plumbing system.

How to Install the Balancing Valve?

On the return side of all terminal units, the balancing valves should be installed after the control valve. All end units should use a gate or ball valve to shut off the supply side. This position of the balancing valve will ensure that the coil has enough positive pressure to let air out through the automatic air vent. With these valves set up, the balance and supply valves can be shut off to fix the terminal coil or the control valve.

Sometimes, a balancing or multipurpose valve on the pump output can measure the total flow and determine if the pump impeller needs trimmed. This valve should be fully opened once the pump has been changed or shortened. Balancing valves must be set up to ensure the flow goes appropriately.

Most valves have an arrow showing the direction the flow should flow when installed. The valve should be up, and the pressure ports should be open to connect the measuring lines. You can turn 90 degrees to the side most of the period, but you should try to stop doing this as much as possible.

smart balance valve
Smart balance valve

Balancing Valves Applications

As mentioned, balancing valves are employed to maintain consistent operating parameters within a hydraulic system. This section will examine prominent balancing valve applications to determine where they have been used successfully. This list is not entire, but should show you where the balancing valve excels as a regulator. There are various applications for balancing valves, such as:

  • Plumbing systems
  • HVAC applications
  • Power generation systems
  • Refrigeration applications
  • Heat exchangers

Selection Criteria for Balancing Valves

Companies that make balancing valves are numerous. The flow via their valves can be monitored electronically by sure of them. The kv-value of the valve’s current position is used to calculate the flow rate. This is done by measuring the pressure drop across the valve.

The parameters of the application (operating pressures, mass flows, fluid type, etc.) must be established before a suitable balancing valve can be specified. In this part, we’ll review these features in detail so you can search for a balancing valve that suits your requirements. This section is meant to provide general criteria, but additional specifications may exist based on the valve type and manufacturer.

Capability and Pressure Ratings

Find out what kind of pressures the valve will be subjected to and what that range is. Before installing the valve, calculate the expected change in flow rate to ensure no problems are associated with the flow rate. Using these numbers, you can determine the quality of valves required and eliminate inefficient designs. When deciding between a static and dynamic balancing valve, it is vital to consider the range of pressures involved.

Diameter of the Pipe

How much of the diameter of a pipe will be used to connect the balancing valve? Pipe diameter is an essential parameter to assess since it impacts flow rate, pressure, and other operational features. It’s important to remember that particular balancing valves can only be used with a specific range of pipe diameters when defining your valves.

Category of Valve

Which method of balancing do you think will work best for your project? Consider a static balancing valve for the minimum resistance, then look into differential balance valves and other dynamic designs if active regulation is required. It is vital to break down the system into its constituent parts to determine which sort of balancing valve is needed at each stage to maintain a constant flow throughout the system.

Controlled Systems

These flow control valves feature monitoring and measuring equipment to ensure proper function. Their primary function is flow management. Find out if the project requires any measuring tools, such as dials, magnetic indicators, etc.

Memory parts frequently need to be defined before buying. Still, they help ensure that a valve does not deviate from a fixed position over time. Suppose your system is subject to quality assurance testing (which should be in most complex systems to preserve efficiency). In that case, you may use a valve with testing ports (most should come stock with these, but not necessarily).

Noise, Material Selection, and Risk Factors

Valves make noise when they open and close. The noise caused by a valve tends to increase whenever water flow is reduced, restricted, or otherwise managed. While using extremely high or substantial flow rates, listen for the specified decibels of noise. The choice of material is also crucial because you need a valve that won’t cause chemical reactions or excessive depositing when used with your fluid. Using the suitable material will ensure that the project retains its high quality throughout time and lengthen the period it may be used.

As a last step, consider what kind of safeguards you’d like to build in. Some ways to avoid wasting too much time and effort include automatic shutoffs, warning signals, etc.

balance reducing valve
Balance reducing valve

How to Test the Balancing Valve?

Test Procedure

Adjust the manifold valves by the hydro manometer manufacturer’s instructions. Adjust the meter or manifold to measure the flow through a balancing valve.

This test primarily measures the water pressure before and after it passes through a valve. Each valve has a fixed orifice that causes a pressure drop when water travels through it. The measured pressure decrease over the valve is compared with published data for the valve that interprets the flow (gallons per minute) through the valve.

Here are the procedures required to pass the exam

  • Connect the positive pressure hose from the manometer to the 12-inch spigot upstream of the flange’s balancing valve. Insert the probe into the extremity of the hose. The instrument is then inserted into this test port. Hand-tighten the brass fitting to the test outlet of the valve.
  • Next, connect the negative pressure hose from the manometer to the balancing valve by inserting the probe into the downstream 12-inch flange.
  • Take a reading of the pressure by tapping the test button on the manometer. The device indicates the pressure decrease across the balancing valve.
  • Examine the degree setting on the handle of the balancing valve.
  • To understand the gpm, plot the pressure drop against the degree setting of the balancing valve on the manufacturer’s flow calculator.
  • Make a comparison of the measured GPM to the required GPM for the system.
  • Adjust the valve setting as necessary to increase or decrease flow.
  • Once the desired water flow has been attained, secure the valve by removing the cover atop the handle and tightening the screw. Reconnect the cap to the valve handle.

When diagnosing and troubleshooting HVAC system performance, assuming the volume of water flowing through a system can cause numerous complications. Once the flow value through the system is determined, according to many HVAC company service managers, up to 70% of unresolved service issues can be resolved expeditiously. Temperature rise calculations that confirm acceptable system performance frequently fail due to water flow assumptions. Based on this presumption, water system diagnostics are often incorrect or misleading.

Numerous smaller hydronic systems lack balancing valves. This decision to reduce costs frequently results in the system operating well below its intended performance. These systems’ deployed devices must work outside the manufacturer’s stated specifications. This indicates that they regularly operate at half their laboratory-rated capacity and efficiency under these conditions.

Balancing Valves Advantages

  • Reduced Sound

When the HVAC system is imbalanced, high pressure results in excessive and annoying noise; by modulating water flow and pressure to system components, balancing valves prevent this by reducing noise.

temp balance tub shower valve (copy)
temp balance tub shower valve
  • Energy Conservation

The water flow in the HVAC system is regulated by balancing valves so that each area receives ample heating/cooling. Properly calibrated valves can reduce energy use by stopping overcooling and overheating, resulting in cost savings related to energy consumption.

  • The Lifespan of Equipment

Balancing valves can extend their service life by ensuring that HVAC components such as pumps, reducers, and coils receive the ideal amount of water flow and pressure.

  • Improved Comfort

Individual temperature control is provided by balancing valves, thereby enhancing the level of user comfort. By regulating water passage to each area, a balanced and stable environment is created that is ideal for any commercial structure.

Balancing Valve: Disadvantages

Regular Maintenance

Balancing valves must be checked and maintained regularly by experts who know what they’re doing. This can be an extra cost.

Costs of installation

There is a cost to installing balance valves, depending on where they are, how large the system is, and what kind of valve they are.

Pressure Drops

Balancing valves depend on the pressure in the system, so any change in the pressure can affect how well they work. This means they should be tested often to ensure they work well.

Limited Control

Balancing valves can only change the amount and pressure of water. They can’t change how hot or cold the system is, which is what temperature control switches are for.

Where Would You Recommend to Put a Balancing Valve?

A large number of industry professionals are of the opinion that flow-balancing valves should be positioned on the return side of the coil whenever possible. The air and noise concerns caused by the coil can be minimized if this step is taken.

Balancing Valves Size

Size mm (D/N)Normal Flow I/SMax Flow I/S
Balancing Valves Size

Important FAQs about Balancing Valve

How do you determine the correct flow rate for the balancing valve?

The correct flow rate for balancing depends on various factors, such as the design specifications of the HVAC system, the heat load in different areas, and the specific requirements of each terminal unit. HVAC engineers or technicians often use design calculations and measurements to determine the appropriate flow rates.

Can balancing valves be retrofitted into existing systems?

Yes, balancing valves can be retrofitted into existing HVAC systems. However, it’s essential to consider the system design and consult an experienced professional to determine the appropriate type and location of balancing valves for retrofitting.

Are balancing valves the only method for flow balancing?

No, balancing valves are one of the methods used for flow balancing in HVAC systems. Other methods include manual damper adjustments, flow restrictors, and variable speed pumps or fans. The selection of the appropriate way depends on the system design, requirements, and complexity.

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