# Valve Sizing And Actuator Selection

There are a couple of engineering design questions that need to be answered in order to help maintain design intent of the system. In this guide, you will be provided with the 18 steps on how to properly size and select valves, actuators and assemblies.

1. Determine valve type. Knowing this upfront will enable us to make adjustments in our sizing and selection.

2. Determine medium being controlled.

3. Determine flow rate of equipment to be controlled. (This should be provided, or on the coil schedule.)

4. Determine specified pressure drop. For correct valve authority, the pressure drop across the valve should be equal to the total pressure drop across the controlled branch, including the valve.

## Valve Sizing – Equation

S = Specific Gravity of media
CV = Flow Coefficient
Q = Volumetric Flow (gpm) with valve fully open
ΔP = Differential Pressure (psi) with valve fully open

## Calculating GPM Flow

GPM = flow in gallons/minute
q = Heat added or removed in BTU/hr
ΔT = Water temperature rise or drop across the coil
S or SG = Specific Gravity of media
Cp = Specific heat of media

## Determining a Rated Flow Rate

Common differential temperatures for chilled water equipment is 12ºF, and 20ºF for hot water systems. This should be double checked with the design engineer on what the intended equipment differentials are for the coils as well as the major equipment such as the boilers and chillers in the system.

If glycol is being used in the system, some modifications to the upper equation can be done to accommodate the difference in specific gravity and specific heat of a mixed fluid compared to standard water.

## Specific Gravity of Glycol Solutions

To compensate for a water/glycol mixture, the previous equation for GPM requires two additional pieces of information. The first thing you will need is the specific gravity of the water/glycol mixture at the mix percentages. That can be obtained from Specific Gravity of Glycol Solutions chart. In North American hydronic systems, 50/50% water/glycol is typical. Most manufactures have rated their equipment to similar mixture limits.

Specific Gravity- SG –Ethylene Glycol Solution (% by volume)
Temperature (ºF)253040506065100
-401)1)1)1)1.121.131)
01)1)1.081.101.111.121.16
401.0481.0571.071.0881.11.111.145
801.041.0481.061.0771.091.0951.13
1201.031.0381.051.0641.0771.821.115
1601.0181.0251.0381.051.0621.0681.049
2001.0051.0131.0261.0381.0491.0541.084
2402)2)2)2)2)2)1.067
2802)2)2)2)2)2)1.05
• 1)Below freezing point
• 2)Above boiling point

## Specific Heat of Glycol Solutions

You will also need the specific heat of the water/glycol mixture at the design percentages to get the correct rated flow rate. That information is available on the Specific Heat of Glycol Solutions chart below.

Specific Heat Capacity – cp – (Btu/lb.ºF)Ethylene Glycol Solution (% by volume)
Temperature (ºF)253040506065100
-401)1)1)1)0,680.7031)
01)1)0.830.780.7230.70.54
400.9130.890.8450.7950.7480.7210.562
800.9210.9020.860.8150.7680.7430.59
1200.9330.9150.8750.8320.7880.7650.612
1600.940.9250.890.850.810.7860.64
2000.9530.9360.9050.8650.830.8070.66
2402)2)2)2)2)0.8280.689
2802)2)2)2)2)2)0.71
• 1)Below freezing point
• 2)Above boiling point
• 1 Btu/(lbmºF) = 4,186.8 J/(kgºK) = 1 kcal/(kgºC)

5. Calculate Cv using the equation for water valves.

6. Determine number of ports (2-way or 3-way).

7. Determine required ANSI Pressure Class rating(125 or 250).

8. Determine required Flow Characteristic; typically Equal Percentage for water applications and Linear for steam applications.

9. Determine Trim Requirements:

• Bronze / Brass (usually for low ΔP water applications)
• Stainless Steel (usually for higher ΔP water applications and steam applications)

10. Determine type of packing, if applicable(Standard or High Temperature)

11. Determine type of mechanical connection to the piping system. (NPT-FxF, NPT – FxUM, Flanged, Sweat, etc.)

12. For the actuator, determine Normal Position and Fail safe requirements

• NO – Normally Open
• NC – Normally Closed
• SR – Spring Return or Fail-Safe
• NSR – Non-Spring Return or Fail-in-Place

13. Determine type of actuator and control signal(2 position, floating, 0-10 vdc, etc.).

14. Determine if Manual Override is required.

15. Based on all of these inputs, select an orderable valve assembly.

16. Check close off pressure(specified, or at least system differential pressure).

17. Calculate actual pressure drop based on valve selected using CV formula

18. Check for Percent Authority, where: Percent Authority should be between 25% and 50%.

What are the key factors to consider when determining valve type?
When determining valve type, it’s essential to consider the application, fluid properties, and system requirements. For instance, in HVAC systems, globe valves are often used for throttling applications, while ball valves are preferred for on/off control. Additionally, the valve material, pressure rating, and temperature range must be compatible with the medium being controlled. Understanding the valve type upfront enables adjustments in sizing and selection to ensure proper system operation.
How does the medium being controlled impact valve sizing and selection?

The medium being controlled significantly affects valve sizing and selection. Different mediums have unique properties, such as density, viscosity, and corrosiveness, which influence valve performance. For example, valves controlling water flow may require different sizing and materials compared to those controlling steam or refrigerants. Accurate identification of the medium ensures the selected valve can handle the specific demands of the application.

What is the importance of determining the flow rate of equipment to be controlled?

Determining the flow rate of equipment to be controlled is crucial for proper valve sizing and selection. The flow rate affects the valve’s ability to control the medium effectively, and incorrect sizing can lead to poor system performance, energy waste, or even equipment damage. The flow rate should be obtained from the coil schedule or provided by the equipment manufacturer to ensure accurate valve selection.

How does the specified pressure drop impact valve authority?

The specified pressure drop is critical for correct valve authority. The pressure drop across the valve should be equal to the total pressure drop in the system to ensure the valve can control the flow effectively. If the pressure drop is too high or too low, the valve may not be able to maintain the desired flow rate, leading to system inefficiencies or even failure. Proper calculation of the specified pressure drop ensures the selected valve has sufficient authority to control the medium.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when sizing and selecting valves, actuators, and assemblies?

Common mistakes to avoid when sizing and selecting valves, actuators, and assemblies include oversizing or undersizing valves, incorrect actuator selection, and inadequate consideration of system dynamics. These mistakes can lead to poor system performance, energy waste, and even equipment failure. By following the 18 steps outlined in this guide, engineers can avoid these common mistakes and ensure proper valve sizing and selection for their HVAC systems.

How do valve authority and valve sizing impact system performance?

Valve authority and valve sizing have a significant impact on system performance. A valve with insufficient authority may not be able to control the flow effectively, leading to system inefficiencies, energy waste, or even equipment damage. Conversely, a properly sized valve with sufficient authority ensures the system operates within design specifications, maintaining optimal performance and efficiency. Accurate valve sizing and selection are critical for achieving design intent and ensuring reliable system operation.

What are some best practices for documenting valve sizing and selection calculations?

Best practices for documenting valve sizing and selection calculations include maintaining a clear and concise record of calculations, assumptions, and references. This documentation should include the valve type, size, and material, as well as the actuator selection and assembly configuration. Accurate and thorough documentation enables easy verification of calculations, facilitates troubleshooting, and ensures knowledge retention for future system modifications or upgrades.