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What's your favorite circuit setter/balancing valve?

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JohnNY
JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
I've been using the Caleffi Quicksetter on and off but the little meter isn't as reliable or worthwhile as I'd like it to be. Some times, the branch flow isn't enough to move the meter and so I miss out on that feature. I've wondered if I can undersize the valve to get the meter to work for me.
Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
Consulting & Troubleshooting
Heating in NYC or NJ.
Classes

Comments

  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,579
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    I had the same issue with the 3/4" valve, then I realized it was available in 2 flow ranges.
    Always size balancing valves to design flow rather than pipe size.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Jean-David BeyerRich_49
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,268
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    The Quicksetter 132 is available with a lower scale range for DHW recirc loop balancing. It is also a low lead valve for potable water use.

    Some installers prefer the little spin type valve we offer. Generally used on solar arrays and pump stations, pick any tailpiece from press- sweat, pex, etc.

    One main difference between these two
    with the 132 Quicksetter the flow never goes through that window so it will always be easy to read.

    With the 223 the window can get loaded from crappy fluid, and become hard to read. We see this on radiant manifolds all the time where the small sight window gets clouded over from dirty fluid.

    With any accurate valve, water quality can render them unless as it plugs the small passage ways.

    Size them close to the flow on the mid or high range of the scale.

    So the 1" Quicksetter reads 3-10 GPM,
    The 3/4" 2-7 GPM If you are trying to read 4,5, 6 GPM for example the 3/4 will respond better.

    Also if you buy too large and choke it way down, know that it is a ball valve inside and closing a ball down to 80% or more is not ideal. You may get some noise and wear on the edges of the ball.

    We have a few other other more accurate balance valves but they require a differential meter to read and adjust.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,634
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    We usually use Armstrong which seem ok to me but the balancers don't seem to like them for some reason. Tour & Anderson (Victaulic) are good valves
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,113
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    What's the application, Johnny? Was it a problem zone? Mad Dog
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    I was literally just on supplyhouse looking at circuit setters.... And wondering opinions on the expensive Caleffi for 3/4"....
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • SeymourCates
    SeymourCates Member Posts: 162
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    My favorite circuit setter is a globe valve and a infrared temperature gun. Set your DT and you're done. Who wants to spend a fortune for a single use?
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    @SeymourCates now we are on the same page!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited December 2017
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    Hmmm. Trust the math in the design phase. Trust the math for pipe sizes, pumps, and their curves, and deltas to give flow rates. However seeing is believing. I think Caleffi offers the better product for the price point. More options in connections, and flow scales. Not having the flow meter exposed to the fluid continually is smart as been said.


    There are some bastardized systems out there where flow meters can make life easier. Using circuit setters requires the added reading equipment which is pricey.

    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,268
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    The majority of balance valves go into engineered projects where there needs to be documentation that all the circuits were set to the engineers spec. Usually a separate contracted "balancing" contractor is involved that does all the balancing for the job, air flow, hydronic, DHW recirculation, etc.

    Really any valve could be considered a balancing valve, and setting one could be as a simple as putting your hands on the S&R and sensing temperature difference as you adjust.

    And the sky is the limit for how much more sophistication and money you want to throw at the task.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Hi all,
    Hello @Mad Dog
    I've got an application where a good system design was terribly installed. Large pumps move about 40 gpm through a network of misplaced tees and ineffective branch lines from a Caravan modular boiler system. The first ⅓ of the main and branches gets lots of low, followed by a trickle-to-no-flow to the remainder of the piping. I can offer it be repiped, but it would be very invasive to several apartments in the building. Nobody wants that. I think forcing some balance by adding controlled restriction to the over-pumped supply lines will bring heat to the idle portions of the system.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    Rich_49
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    edited December 2017
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    Sounds like a classic direct return with no engineering at all @JohnNY. Those are wonderful. When the close zones call the far ones freeze! Gotta love that! Perfect solution for Caleffi self reading balance valves for sure. I did one of those where I ended putting some circulators on the farthest zoned and left the valves on the close ones. It was kind of hack admittedly, it was an addition to an apartment building so the mains were undersized a few 007s and it has been heating well for 6 years now.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Sounds like a classic direct return with no engineering at all @JohnNY. Those are wonderful. When the close zones call the far ones freeze! Gotta love that! Perfect solution for Caleffi self reading balance valves for sure. I did one of those where I ended putting some circulators on the farthest zoned and left the valves on the close ones. It was kind of hack admittedly, it was an addition to an apartment building so the mains were undersized a few 007s and it has been heating well for 6 years now.

    Direct return is EXACTLY what it is. Same goes for the 4-unit Caravan boiler setup they installed. The first boiler gets all the flow while the others sit there and rust. I gave them a price to install a reverse return line from the last boiler but at this point, they have to replace at least two of the 4 boilers and might as well do this all in one shot anyway.
    Like you, I gave them an option to install 2 pumps near the ends of the main too, but I'm guessing also like you, I was shaking my head the whole time I was explaining the job.
    Sent them this with a good explanation of why this is drawn this way:
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Yeah I wanted to do a reverse return (my preferred way to pipe most anything) in this place but it would have involved way too much repipe and demo work. I did shake my head when I added the circulator down the line and it didn't come with a guarantee that it would "fix" the lazy piping job, bit it did provide adequate heat so I havnt been back. Hate those land Lord jobs!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    JohnNY
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,113
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    Looks like a great one when u solve it for them.
    How long ago was the install? Mad Dog
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    My favorite is Taco Acu-flow, but you need a meter to set it and it can get plug up on the reading ports. Once set, as long as the head energy is remains the same, you can forget it.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,113
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    I've used the b& g and Taco. Mad Dog
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Mad Dog said:

    Looks like a great one when u solve it for them.

    How long ago was the install? Mad Dog

    About 6 years. "Never worked right". Obviously.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,113
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    Johnny. I'm installing a B & G on Saturday at my buddy's house. I'll report back after. Mad Dog
    JohnNY