Pressure Reducing Valves

Pressure reducing valves or pressure regulating valves allow for a step down of pressure from a supply line to a process. These can come in different media types from water to steam, and even fuel oil. We offer brands in Spence, Spirax Sarco, Armstrong, H.O. Trerice, Cascho, Watts, and Watson McDaniel.

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What is a Pressure Reducing Valve & What a Pressure Reducing Valve Does?

Pressure-reducing valves are used to step down pressure in a line or pipe. You’ll find them throughout your boiler system, regulating the pressure of everything from incoming fuel oil, propane, natural gas, and water to outgoing steam. Because they regulate pressure, they can also be used to regulate temperature, as well.

Utility supply lines have to operate at a substantial pressure to be able to keep up with demand. Pressure-reducing valves lower the incoming pressure to a more manageable level, allowing more precise control over boiler operation and efficiency.

Steam lines may also need pressure reduction before they reach their end application. For example, a heat exchanger may not require the full pressure of the steam system to operate. Pressure reducing valves can also lower temperatures before the steam reaches its application, because lowering pressure also lowers temperature.

Different Types of Pressure Reducing Valves & How To Choose

Pressure-reducing valves are usually linked to sensors that open, close, or modulate them based on specified supply, demand, or temperature. 

On the fire side, pressure-reducing valves drop the pressure of incoming gas or oil to allow greater modulation and control over the boiler’s firing rate.  

On the water side, pressure-reducing valves keep the incoming water from overwhelming the pumps, and any water treatment equipment in the water supply line. 

On the process side, pressure-reducing valves lower the pressure and temperature to the specific levels required for each application.

The Role Pressure Reducing Valves Play in a Boiler

Without a pressure-reducing valve in place, the incoming fuel supply would be more difficult to control. By allowing fuel to enter the furnace at a lower pressure, the firing rate is easier to control and adjust for efficiency. 

Without a pressure-reducing valve in the water side, the incoming water would put more stress on the valves controlling the feedwater supply. Too much pressure would also put stress on any water softeners or other treatment equipment, causing it to wear out sooner. 

Without a process-level pressure-reducing valve, process equipment would become overstressed and overheated, possibly causing a rupture.

Effects of a Bad Pressure-Reducing Valve

When a pressure-reducing valve goes bad, the pressure and amount of incoming fuel or water will increase. This will lead to a loss of system efficiency and performance. 

When a pressure-reducing valve fails on the process side, the equipment may start to leak or may operate at higher temperatures than normal.

Things to consider

  • Make sure your pressure-reducing valve is properly rated for the application. Don’t use fuel valves for water or vice-versa. 
  • If your boiler suddenly shows an increase in line pressure, contact a professional immediately.
  • Regular pressure monitoring is the key to safety.

Helpful Resources

Relevant WARE Videos on Pressure Reducing Valves

Relevant WARE Blog Articles on Pressure Reducing Valves

Understanding Boiler Pressure Controls

Under Pressure For A Test

Today’s Lesson in Physics: The relationship between steam pressure and temperature

Technical Documents

Rental Contingency Plan