How Automatic Flow Control Valves Work

Automatic flow control valves have many uses. The operative mechanism is a spring loaded cartridge. The cartridge absorbs pressure that is often caused by changes in flow conditions, and the control valve regulates these fluctuations.

Who Uses Automatic Flow Control Valves?

As with other flow control valve types, there are several ways to use automatic valves. Popular uses include in cabinets, terminals, baseboards, chillers, pumps, towers, and with air handling units.

Naturally, varying situations can also lead to how the valves are applied during usage. Smaller automatic control valves are necessary when used in cabinets, baseboards, and terminals. Larger ones are best when used in chillers, pumps, and towers. You'll want to use the larger valves when you need higher flow capacity.

The Types of Automatic Valves You'll Likely Encounter

There are many styles of automatic flow control valves. There are combination valves, valves with threaded flanges, valves with single flanges, and valves with steel flanges, just to name a few. You might also see them with wafer or grooved ends.

Manual control valves are different from automatic control valves in some very important ways. Manual valves usually have handles. When you want to facilitate high flow pressure, you turn the handle. The handle should be turned to the open position to create more flow and moved to the closed position to stop flow. Manual valves create higher flow pressure, which is why automatic valves are preferred. In addition, automatic flow valves typically are most cost effective.

Materials Used In Automatic Control Valves

A control valve's life expectancy is directly related to how it is made and the material it is made from. PVC valves, for instance, can break. They also don't hold up well under extreme hot or cold.

On the other hand, stainless steel control valves usually last longer. They don't rust. They are resistant to corrosion. And, they don't tarnish.

While stainless steel control valves are usually more expensive to purchase, their advantages make them the most cost effective choice for most industrial uses.

Other materials you might find in automatic flow valves include copper, silver, iron, and brass.

Where To Find Automatic Valves

Automatic flow control valves are most often used in air compressors, a variety of pumps, car washes, industrial water control equipment, and laundry equipment. Before you install your valve, you want to flush the line. Get rid of air pockets so that the fluid or liquid moving through the control mechanism doesn't have to fight to move freely. Lubrication isn't necessary.

Manufacturers typically have their own specifications, so be sure to consult the valve's instruction manual or operators manual before you start installing the valve on your equipment.