From Marie of Flo-Pac, LLC. For more information, please vist www.flo-pacllc.com.
While the introduction of the Bell & Gossett Circuit Setter revolutionized the way plumbing experts calibrate a water system to achieve balance, manual balancing valves still have a number of key advantages over their fancier cousins. Keeping a balanced water system ensures optimum heating or cooling performance, and choosing the right valves for the size and shape of your project helps keep costs low and resources well-used.
Though often hailed as the best valve available for water systems, circuit setters have a balance valve built into the device and calibrate the proper water pressure to keep the
system in balance automatically. Circuit setters also feature a number of additional benefits, including monitoring and measuring points as well as a shutoff valve system. This allows users to shut off water to one part of the system, effectively keeping the rest of the system closed and in balance while saving energy by eliminating water flow to one area of a building. This is most useful for water heating systems in large buildings, when one wing of the building might be undergoing renovations or otherwise out of commission. Circuit setters also make it easy to add additions to a building without fumbling too heavily with the existing water system.
Circuit setters, however, are simply not suited for residential purposes. A house or smaller building would be better served with a manual balancing valve. Manual balancing valves are positioned throughout the water system to keep it in balance, with each valve custom-calibrated and positioned by the installer. In a small home water system generally unaffected by changes or construction, the fact that the valves must be
calibrated individually does not pose a problem – and manual balancing valves offer a much cheaper alternative that automatic balancing valves or circuit setters.
In thinking about technical equipment, people tend to regard terms like “manual” or “automatic” in terms of manual options being more old-fashioned than automatic. For
example, most Americans prefer to drive automatic vehicles – but manual stick-shift cars still require less gasoline and offer the driver more complete control, making them a better choice for many drivers. Manual balancing valves have a similar place in water systems, and they are often more useful depending on the needs of the installer and the building owner.