An air release valve offers a vital function in highly pressurized piping systems. When air trapped inside a pipeline collects and rises to high areas within the system, it can make the compressor work harder.
This increased work calls for increased energy use, leading to an increase in the total cost of ownership. A faster pump speed is one way to reduce total system heat. However, increased work calls for increased pressure, which adds strain to the compressor.
Pressurized pipework increases the need for air release valve. In some cases, airflow is so heavy that no other mechanism can prevent an increased amount of air from gathering in the system. For this case, the air release valve serves as an energy-saving backup.
The valve prevents power consumption from the compressor when the airflow is too high. When an air release valve is installed, the compressor can turn off and on only when needed, reducing strain on the mechanical equipment. Additionally, the valve prevents a build-up of dirt and other debris in pipelines that can hinder the flow of air.
There are two common types of air release valve applications. There is the conventional open or closed screw variety, which is used in a vent to vent fluid. In this situation, the vent is connected to a liquid flushing system, such as a garbage disposal unit or a kitchen sink. When the pressure in the vent is reduced, the liquid will be flushed into the system via the pressure relief valve.
In another application, the air release valve is used as a hydraulic oil-water Hammer. When a pipeline is leaking, the presence of excess oil or grease in the pipelines can reduce the ability of the machinery to push down into the pipe wall. When valves are present, the valve opens so that liquid can escape into the lower pipe. This type of valve also typically comes equipped with an air release.
An air release valve also allows for controlled exit from a manufacturing plant. If air or liquid does not enter the pipe during normal operations, a pressure relief actuator located on the compressor or other compressor system can close the valve body. If the air enters the pipe, the outer float will move and close the valve body.
The inner float will then float and shut the valve body. In the case of a closed valve body, the inner float will stay in place to maintain pressure. In either situation, the pressure must remain within the tolerances established by manufacturer specifications.
An air release valve is essential for protecting the integrity of pipeline systems in petroleum refineries and other industrial facilities. In these situations, excessive force can damage pipelines by inducing entrained air pockets inside them. These air pockets prevent the flow of natural gas or petroleum liquids through the pipelines until they are released.
When force is applied to an open or close-fitting valve, the seal breaks and liquid or gas escapes into the air. This can occur if excess pressure is introduced into the pipelines from adjacent points. In the worst-case scenario, this can result in serious pipeline and equipment failure and can lead to serious accidents.