Are your water systems as safe, energy and carbon efficient as they should be?
What is balancing of a water system?
In order for a water system to run as effectively as possible, while being as safe, energy and carbon efficient as possible, its distribution and components need to be balanced. Balancing relates to the the flow rates and water pressures in different parts of the system.
Design flow rates and water pressure
The most effective and efficient flow rate for any particular section of the system is known as the design flow rate. The pressure is also important. If the the pressure is too low, there could be air in the water system which will not only mean it runs less efficiently but could also cause some components to malfunction. If the pressure is too high, that can lead to other issues. The image below shows a digital flow rate meter for measuring flow rates in a chilled or heating water system.
Let’s look at a simple hot water system as an example. In any water system, the water’s natural flow will favour some circuits more than others. Control valves can correct the issue but it will take time for them to do this, increasing the lag or time taken to reach the set temperature in different rooms. The greater that lag, the less efficient and effective that system is.
Balancing improves efficiency
A water system can be balanced by using balancing valves to reduce the flow of water to the favoured circuits so flow is encouraged elsewhere in the system.
Once balancing is understood, it is easy to see that the process will be much more complex for larger buildings such as hotels, hospitals and offices. Below is an image of a water box which is used to measure flow rates in either a heating or chilled water system.
What is commissioning?
It is an important requirement of Part L of the Building Regulations, which relates to a building’s target CO2 emission rate, that water systems (and other environmental systems) are tested to prove their design and installation will operate effectively and efficiently. Before these commissioning tests can be carried out, a pre-commission is necessary.
Pre-commissioning involves checking the actual installation against the design schematics. Are all the components in place? Are they installed correctly and correctly wired to the control system? Another element of compliance with BSRIA and CIBSE regulations is to ensure that the the system has been designed with commissioning in mind. That means easy access to installed measurement points in the system. Engineers also need to assess the design itself to make sure it is sound.
Once all pre-commissioning checks have been carried out the system is ready to be tested and the commissioning process begins. Thorough and correct commissioning will ensure that the water system will operate at their optimum performance level, providing building users with good quality internal environments and keeping energy costs to a minimum.
Balancing and commissioning of water systems has to be carried out by experienced and qualified engineers who understand what is required to ensure the systems work effectively, as efficiently as possible and in accordance with Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) guidelines.
Balancing and commissioning is also carried out for air conditioning systems. Below is a device for measuring air flow rates.
Highly skilled and experienced, CSA accredited engineers
Water Compliance Solutions Ltd (WCS) has highly skilled engineers who will carry out thorough checks of your newly installed system to ensure it complies with all necessary regulations. Our Commissioning Specialists Association (CSA) accredited engineers will carry out thorough pre-commissioning checks to ensure the installation meets the original design specification and is ready to run.
Commissioning of both air and water systems
WCS can perform hands-on commissioning of both air and water systems. With over 20 years of experience, we have extensive knowledge and experience of working on all types of modern and legacy systems including: Variable to Constant Flow, Static Pressure Control, Fan Coil Units, ePIV, VAV & CAV Boxes, Carrier Modulines, Induction Units and Life Safety Systems.
Call us today
Balancing and commissioning is not just about making sure your water systems work or ensuring compliance with regulations. We ensure that your water systems run safely and efficiently so you make great financial savings as well as reducing your carbon footprint.
For the most thorough and cost effective balancing and commissioning service, call us on 0800 1303221 today.