Category Archive: Balancing Valves

Use of Balancing Valves in Hydronic Systems

Balancing valveBalancing valves are throttling devices designed to regulate the fluid flow through hydronic components. In hydronic systems (HVAC systems that use water as a medium to heat and cool areas of the facility), they facilitate the distribution of heated or chilled water to all terminals. As a result, the system is able to achieve optimal performance, which translates to higher operating efficiency and lower operating costs.

The following article discusses balancing valves for chilled water systems and heated water systems, including what they do, how to adjust them, and typical applications.

What Does a Balancing Valve Do in HVAC Systems?

The flow of fluid in an HVAC system is constantly changing to accommodate alterations in the conditions of the facility. Some of the factors that influence the demand for heating and cooling include building occupancy levels and heat from the sun. Properly designed and constructed HVAC systems should be able to offer the correct output when and where it is required. In unbalanced systems, there is a risk of underflow or overflow conditions, which can lead to insufficient or excessive heating or cooling. Balancing valves ensure the system delivers the right flow to all of the terminals, given the current facility conditions.

How a Balancing Valve Works

Receiving proper input flow & temperatureReceiving improper input flow & temperature

Hydronic Circuits

The flow of fluid in an HVAC system is constantly changing to accommodate alterations in the conditions of the facility. Properly designed and constructed HVAC systems should be able to offer the correct output when and where it is required.

Unbalanced System

Unbalanced System

Water will take the path of least resistance. Unbalanced systems risk underflow or overflow conditions, which can lead to insufficient or excessive heating or cooling. Rooms further from the pump receive less water due to different “resistances” created by lines of different length. Head loss grows with pipe length, turns, restrictions and gravity.

Balanced System

Balanced System

Balancing valves add the proper “resistance” on all lines, ensuring that the system delivers the right flow and temperature to all of the terminals, given the current facility conditions.

How Do You Adjust a Manual Balancing Valve to Maintain System Balance?

Differential pressure manometers/balancing computers—measure the pressure difference between two pressure points. Industry professionals can use this tool to calculate flow rates and determine if and when adjustments on the balancing valve(s) are needed to maintain system balance.

Typically, an HVAC system has a balancing valve for each terminal-unit coil and air-handling unit (AHU). Adjusting all of them to maintain system balance involves several steps. For manual balancing valves, these are:

  1. Connecting a differential-pressure gauge or circuit-balancing instrument to the two metering/test ports of the valve
  2. Determining the required rate of flow through the balancing valve
  3. Adjusting the handwheel to achieve the proper flow rate
  4. Repeating the above steps for all balancing valves

Applications of Balancing Valves

As indicated above, balancing valves help achieve and maintain proper conditions within hydronic systems. In addition to being used in HVAC systems, they are also integrated into the following:

  • Heat exchangers
  • Power generation systems
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Server cooling systems
  • Water return lines

Contact the Valve Experts at RWV Today

Balancing valves are an essential component of hydronic systems. They ensure the proper temperatures within the facility are achieved and maintained, energy utilization is optimized, and operating costs are reduced. If you need balancing valves for your facility, turn to the experts at RWV.

At RED-WHITE VALVE CORP., we manufacture and distribute a broad selection of balancing valves. Our valves feature brass (DZR) construction for superior corrosion resistance and a fixed venturi design for easier setting requirements. We also offer accessories for all types of connections. To learn more about our products and how they can benefit your hydronic system, contact us today.

Automatic vs. Manual Balancing Valves: Benefits of a Hydronic System

Hydronic HVAC systems use water to heat and cool facilities evenly. One of the essential components that aid in the even spread of temperatures are balancing valves.

Balancing valves are throttling devices that help regulate the flow of water in hydronic components. Generally, there are two types of balancing valves, automatic and manual, each with benefits and drawbacks. This blog will compare automatic and manual balancing valves and go over applications and advantages for each.

Manual Balancing Valves9527AB

Manual balancing valves are pressure-dependent and do not adjust to changing system pressure. Instead, manual balancing valves are manually adjusted throttling valves, which provide the ability to gauge pressure drop across the valve. Pressure drop is measured, flow is calculated, and valve openings are adjusted by a test and balance evaluator who aids in achieving flow values in accordance with the design.

This manual operation will maintain a balanced system at full-load conditions (designed load), even though it only performs under those conditions around 2-3% of the time. However, as soon as the system dynamics slightly differ, the system becomes unbalanced and remains so until reevaluated and adjusted.

Advantages of Manual Balancing Valves:

  • Sensitive: Manual balancing valves are capable of reading low rates of flow very accurately.
  • Environmentally friendly: Manual balancing valves tend to use less energy than automatic valves, thereby using fewer non-renewable resources.
  • Cost-effective: As manual balancing valves use less energy than automatic valves, they save money on energy bills.
  • Intuitive: When there is a problem with a manual balancing valve, it is easier to troubleshoot than with an automatic valve.

Automatic Balancing Valves9907T

Automatic balancing valves function independently of pressure to keep the water flow constant. They maintain the designed flow rate within the PSID range specified by the manufacturer, even as the system pressure varies. Accordingly, they provide system stability as they maintain an overall system balance, even when other branches fluctuate, thereby achieving full flow authority.

Automatic balancing valves act as pressure differential regulators at most varying load conditions by controlling system pressure changes in the valve itself, which makes them more user-friendly.

Advantages of Automatic Balancing Valves:

  • Ease of use: Automatic balancing valves adjust themselves and, therefore, do not require any balancing expertise or expense.
  • Efficient: Automatic balancing valves eliminate overpumping at the part load, thereby reducing pumping costs. They also maintain water flow, which ensures boiler efficiency.
  • Durable and quiet: They reduce water noise and erosion, leading to a longer-lasting system.
  • Time-saving: Valves balance automatically; therefore, no system rebalance is required when terminal units are reconfigured within the system.

Applications of Manual Balancing Valves vs. Automatic Balancing Valves

Both manual balancing valves and automatic balancing valves are useful in a myriad of applications, which depend on the system requirements.

Manual Balancing Valve Applications:

  • HVAC systems: Manual valves are excellent in facilities where areas regularly experience low rates of flow.
  • Power generation systems: Manual balancing valves work especially well with variable speed pump control systems.
  • Domestic hot water recirculation lines: Manual balancing valves can control water flow through a plumbing system efficiently.

Automatic Balancing Valve Applications:

  • HVAC systems: Automatic balancing valves work especially well where a balanced flow is needed throughout a facility.
  • Fan coil units: Automatic balancing valves are better at regulating fan coil units evenly.

Solutions from RED-WHITE VALVE CORP.

While manual balancing systems may be seen as old-fashioned, they are still the preferred system, depending on the application. The initial cost differences between manual and automatic balancing valves are minimal, so it all comes down to what you need the balancing valve in your system to do.

At RED-WHITE VALVE CORP., we believe as a company that it is truly about listening to what our customers are saying and delivering on our promises. To do this, we have added and continue to add new product lines and work tirelessly to satisfy customers with world-class service while offering competitive pricing.  Contact us for more information on our products.

Balancing Valves 101

Balancing valveHydronic systems are HVAC systems that utilize water to heat and cool different areas of a facility.Balancing valves are valves designed to attain hydraulic balance within such systems by regulating fluid flow and pressure. When selected and installed properly, they equalize system pressure, creating comfortable thermal conditions in the building while optimizing energy and operating costs.

How difficult it is to achieve balance within a hydronic system depends on the size and configuration of the system. For example, residential systems are smaller and simpler, so they are easier to balance than industrial or commercial systems, which are generally larger and more complex.

The following article provides an overview of balancing valves, including the types available and typical applications, to help customers decide which type of balancing valve is right for their needs.

Types of Balancing Valves

Types of Balancing Valves
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Balancing valves are available in several variations to suit different hydronic systems. Some of the most prominent types are:

  • Static balancing valves—also called manual balancing valves or pressure-dependent balancing valves—offer a fixed resistance to water flow. The settings for these valves are calculated before installation and then adjusted when the valves are installed in the field. Internal valve parts remain static during system operations.
  • Fixed-orifice balancing valves are a type of static balancing valve that features a fixed orifice, such as a Venturi insert, combined with pressure/temperature ports that enable measurement of the differential pressure across this orifice. Because the orifice remains set during valve adjustments, the flow rate of the system can be derived easily by the pressure drop measured across the ports. This type of manual balancing valve makes for more efficient commissioning.
  • Automatic balancing valves—also known as pressure-independent balancing valves and dynamic balancing valves. These valves are designed to automatically maintain a fixed value of flow rate, despite changes in differential pressure, in order to optimize system operation. In contrast to static balancing valves, these valves have internal parts that move to compensate for changes in differential pressure, enabling them to operate more efficiently under variable load conditions.
  • Pressure-independent flow control valves are all-in-one devices that combine the capabilities of balancing valves, control valves, and differential pressure regulators. They feature built-in differential pressure regulators that automatically accommodate changes in system pressure to stabilize flow within the heating or cooling components to meet different temperature demands. Pressure-independent control valves can matched with actuators that provide remote flow control capabilities.

Applications of Balancing Valves

The primary use case of balancing valves is hydronic balancing. This process refers to the optimization of water distribution within a hydronic heating or cooling system by equalizing fluid pressure. Ultimately, by achieving balance within these systems, balancing valves ensure the following:

  • Correct temperature levels are reached and maintained
  • Energy utilization is optimized
  • Operating costs are lowered

Find out how a differential pressure manometer operates.

Contact the Valve Experts at RED-WHITE VALVE CORP. Today

Brass Balancing Valve from Red-White Valve

Balancing valves play a critical role in hydronic systems. In addition to facilitating heating and cooling operations, they help reduce energy and operating costs. As they are available in several different types, choosing the right one for a system can be difficult. For selection assistance, turn to the valve experts at RED-WHITE VALVE CORP.

At RED-WHITE VALVE CORP., we are a premier supplier of valves for the HVAC and other industrial and commercial markets. Equipped with almost 50 years of industry experience and advanced manufacturing technologies, we have the knowledge and tools to design and deliver a broad selection of quality valve products, including balancing valves. For more information about our product offerings or assistance choosing one for a particular system, contact us today.