Balancing Overview

What is Hydronic Balancing

Hydronics refers to the process of transporting heat within a large installation using water or a similar fluid as the heat transfer medium. Typically this involves some equipment to chill or heat the water (production) and several terminals at which this water is used to heat or cool air (consumption). Hydronic balancing is a set of techniques to ensure that the intended amount of water reaches each terminal unit. This is done typically by means of calibrated flow control valves placed throughout the building.

Why Balance?

In an unbalanced network, an excessive amount of water will pass through the least restricted circuits (usually nearest the pump) while circuits with more restriction get too little. With a typical terminal unit, heat transfer increases very little when the flow becomes excessive. The result is that the building takes far longer to reach the desired temperatures. This same waste of heat transfer capability will also prevent the system from controlling the temperature under maximum load unless it is built with extra production capacity. While some might say that it is appropriate to design with a safety factor, this extra equipment is not creating such a safety factor since the extra capacity is being wasted rather than standing by until needed. Typically an unbalanced system will require more initial investment and more energy to achieve the same effect as a balanced system.

Why Balance Automatically?

Automatic balancing uses flow limiters to prevent wasteful overflow in the system. These devices are only active when an overflow would otherwise occur, and thus do not interfere with the operation of modulating control valves. While calibrated manual balancing valves are also an effective solution, flow limiters have advantages in some situations:

  • Less commissioning labor
  • Better adaptation to variations in pressure due to variable flow systems
  • System changes can be made without re-balancing.

Why Use Flow Design Products?

Flow Design is the established leader in quality and innovation for automatic balancing valves.

  • Flow Design owns many patents, including several for constant flow regulators.
  • Flow Design (FDI) products rely on stainless steel for all parts that flex or slide. Many competitors depend on rubber (which is chemically and mechanically far more sensitive) in critical dynamic elements of their regulators.
  • Flow Design’s patented consolidated ports and patented hybrid ports provide the best chance in the industry for debris to pass through without causing a problem.
  • Several patented Flow Design technologies improve performance at low differential pressure, thus saving energy as compared to the competition.
  • Flow Design uses thicker metal than competitors to provide a more durable product.
  • All Flow Design regulators are precision machined and skillfully assembled in a process that includes continuous flow testing to eliminate errors.

These features and others make Flow Design’s product the most reliable in the industry. Flow Design’s place in the IMI Indoor Climate group, along with TA and Heimeier, assures the customer that support will always be available in any part of the world.