A water pressure regulator, or as we call it a pressurereducing valve has the function of maintaining a constantdelivery pressure regardless of its varying inlet pressure. Whileits function appears straightforward, there are many factorswhich should be considered before a valve can be properly applied:These are:1.Selection and Application.2.Sizing, Capacities, and Cv Factors.3.Pressure Differentials and Velocities.4.Rangeability and Sensitivity.5.Effects on system head curves.6.Cavitation and Wiredrawing.7.Drop in regulators.8.Flashing fluids.9.Noise.10.Waterhammer.11.Special control features.12.Bypass and staging Applications.There are no doubt many other factors and each couldbe elaborated on at great length. However, this paper will try tobasically familiarize the reader with the reducing valve, itsapplication and operation.Before selecting a water reducing valve, severalquestions must be answered.First, what is the maximum and minimum inlet pres-sure?Second, what is the desired outlet pressure?From these first two facts, the differential pressure isdetermined.Third, what is the maximum flow rate to be handled?Although this information seems adequate enough tosize a valve, all of the required information has not beenevaluated. For example, is there any temperature involved?Fluids flash much more easily at increased temperatures. Willthere be a cavitation problem? High pressure reductions withlow outlet pressure could indicate a possible severe cavitationcondition. Cavitation could result in a high attrition rate withthe valve eventually destroyed. What are the minimum andmaximum flow demands? Although the valve was sized for themaximum flow, the valve may be required to spend most of itstime controlling a very small flow.There are also other factors to be considered beforeselecting the valve design such as, the condition of the fluid, is itsandy? Corrosive? Or Toxic? Then the location of the valvemust be studied. Is it in a typical distribution system? Orperhaps in a fire system where high reliability is essential, orperhaps it may be installed somewhere where it will be inactivefor long periods. Once all of the determining factors have beenevaluated, the valve size and type may be chosen.One of the commonly used systems for selecting valvesizes is the Cv method. By dividing the required GPM by thesquare root of the differential pressure, the required valve Cvfactor is found. Referring this Cv Factor to a valve chart, therequired valve size may be found.A chart labeled Flow Capacities for GA globe valvesis included. This chart illustrates the
valve thatcan be used at a specified flow and differential conditions. Thechart also indicates flow for valves virtually
which isnot the normal operating condition.A practical approach to sizing PRVs would be todetermine a valve size based on a flowing velocity of about 15FPS, then choose the nearest practical valve size. It is notdesirable to operate PRVs beyond about 20 FPS.Installing pressure reducing valves in parallel requiressome thought. On many installations, a small PRV is installedadjacent to a large PRV to provide the small flows at a pressure3 to 5 psi higher than the setting of the large valve. This is aquite common arrangement; however, when installing PRVs of equal diameters in parallel, the individual pressure settingscannot be equal as the valves will not respond equally and onevalve will try to do most of the work. Each valves design flow must be compared with the other valves headloss and pilotcontrol setting to obtain maximum performance.
Minimum Pressure Differential
Pressure reducing valves are normally required toreduce some higher inlet pressure to a relatively lower outletpressure. Occasionally there is a requirement to reduce avalves inlet pressure only slightly. A condition which issignificant and inherent to all PRVs and must be considered, isthe minimum pressure differential on which the valve willoperate.All PRVs exhaust their pilot control water to thedownstream side of the main valve. It is then obvious that themain valves downstream pressure must be no more than acertain percentage of the valves inlet pressure. This figurevaries with valve types and sizes but is somewhere between 85%to 90%. Large valves are generally more sensitive while smallsize valves are more affected by seal friction. On criticalinstallations, the valve manufacturer can provide more exactdata for the valve size in question.On differential piston types PRVs should the outletpressure setting exceed the minimum differential requirementsof the valve, the main valve piston will throttle independently tomaintain some minimum pressure differential without heedingcommands from the control pilot.
There is a great deal of confusion regarding velocitiesthrough reducing valves, so we will digress for a moment on it.The velocity of the fluid flow in a pipeline is a functionof the quantity of the flowing water and the area of the pipe.Through an orifice, the velocity is a function of the differentialpressure. The area is of no consequence since the velocity willbe the same regardless of the area. For example, drilling a holein a storage tank riser pipe with a 100 foot head above it, thevelocity of the flow through the center of the orifice will beabout 80 ft./sec. Regardless of what size hole is made.This same effect occurs inside a valve. The velocity across the seat of the valve is a function of the differentialpressure while the velocity through the valve inlet and outletports is a function of the quantity and area. It would be errone-ous for a user to select a larger size valve in the belief that thevelocity across the seat is thus lowered and wear rate factor