82 HPM 0416

HPM-04-APR-2016

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com PIPES,PUMPS,VALVES&FITTINGS Will we ever know the best products? In a society today where there is no shortage of selection, are we as an industry really making the most of what is on offer? Is there perhaps a trend where we’re guilty of using the products that we know best instead of searching for the best products for the job? Oliver Jones, sales applications engineer of Marflow Hydronics, investigates... Iwould say that the most popular valves that are used in water distribution systems today are Y Type Strainers and standard Isolation Valves. Then we also find people use a combination of these valves, where solutions are forged together to fulfil the requirements of the particular job in hand. However, although these products are the most popular and probably the ones we’re most familiar with, they do come with numerous problems. For starters, they are not that easy to install and the time involved when using them is significant. Space is another issue. When using Y Type Strainers, three valves are needed for the final solution and this means that suitable space must be found to fit all the products. In addition, all the relevant fittings will be needed to go with this, so it’s possible to end up with three valves and six fittings in total. WATER LOSS AND AIR INTAKE The above only relates to the installation; maintenance is a whole other issue. When the valves need to be cleaned, which should be done at least as part of the planned preventative maintenance schedule, then they are not always easy to work with. There’s also the issue of water loss and air intake which has to be dealt with as part of the task. In our fast paced industry, manufacturers are always striving to find products that help to save time, reduce costs and make life much easier, and valves of these kinds are no different. If we look at installation first, then there are definitely products that help solve the known issues. Using a compact combined isolation valve and strainer unit, something like a Filterball, then water distribution projects are made much easier. In products like the Filterball, the in-built strainer screen removes the need for separate isolating valves up and downstream of traditional Y Strainers and this means less cost and less time is needed in comparison to using traditional strainers and isolating valves. EASIER MAINTENANCE Moving on, they then make maintenance far easier too. If we look back at more traditional Y Strainers, no matter how easy they might be to reach, they’re still not easy to work with. For them to work properly, they need to have separate Isolating Valves and it’s quite an involved task to make changes or clean out the system. With something like the Filterball, though, the product is all in one and has been deliberately designed to counteract the problems associated with the more traditional solution. On the topic of maintenance, another part of a system’s planned preventative maintenance is to check the strainer, and this needs to be handled correctly or it could cause many other issues. On any system, when the strainer is checked, water will be lost. As a result, air will then be introduced. If this air is not quickly removed, by degassing for example, then it can and most likely will cause corrosion in pipework systems. Venting alone is not enough, as the air will be dissolved; the air needs to be properly removed. To help minimise this issue, it’s vital that strainers are installed in such a way that they are set up to reduce the introduction of air in the first place. This, therefore, decreases the issue of corrosion from the outset. With all of this in place, maintenance becomes a much easier task to complete, and this is now all possible today No matter what the industry, no matter what the job, it’s probably fair to say that we get used to doing things in a certain way. Working with water distribution systems, we might not even see the time or space issues associated with more standard valves as a problem. If we know no different, then it’s not a problem, it’s just the way things are. However, in our competitive society, manufacturers will always be looking to provide smarter products that make installation and maintenance quicker and easier. This means that many of the problems that people still come across every day could be eliminated, yet they still aren’t. I talk to many people who are finding issues with their water distribution projects, and it’s hard to see why this is continuing to be the case. TRAINING AND UNDERSTANDING To me, it simply comes down to knowledge. If you don’t know these products exist, then how can you use them? Furthermore, you may know they exist, but no one can just know how to use a product off the shelf. Some element of training and understanding needs to be applied, but who has time for that? We’re all too busy, with too many deadlines and things to do. However, this is one of those lose lose situations. We don’t have time to find better products as we’re so busy dealing with the issues associated with more traditional products, yet how will we ever overcome these issues if we don’t take the time to look at the 21st century innovation? There’s no easy answer, but, to me, I’d like to at least see more training courses readily available. I see this happening more and more as people start to realise the great benefits of using the newer solutions, but I think we have a long way to go. All I can say is, no one will ever look back and regret taking some time to find a better product. 82 APRIL 2016 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 154 When positive isolation or draining facilities are required within an HVAC heating and cooling system, the Marflow Hydronics range of ball and drain valves are the ideal choice


HPM-04-APR-2016
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