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If you use shell & tube or plate style heat exchangers you should read this article. I have managed application engineering for one of Americas well known heat exchanger companies for almost twenty years. Over that time the application of heat exchangers became very important to me and the companies I consulted with. What’s more important are the thousands of applications for temperature control and the precision at which they can be used. Temperature control is simple if you understand the type of product that suits your need best. The application of Sterlco 56T water control valves for heat exchangers specifically shell&tube and plate style is crucial for efficient performance and cost savings.

Sizes 3/8 inch npt – 2.5 inch flange

56T medium56T valve flanged

First most water cooled heat exchangers require a continuous water source either from a cooling tower, water chiller or tap water, all give the same reaction in the exchanger but all are different when it comes to cost of use. In larger cooling tower systems unless service flow is minimal these systems use hand valves simply because their water is recycled and fairly inexpensive to use. Water chillers offer higher precision with regard to the steady state incoming water temperature and for steady state systems are simple to apply using a hand control valve. Systems that use tap water can cost allot if discharging to sewer and not using the water for additional applications.

In almost every case, Sterlco 56T water control valves for heat exchangers temperature actuated modulating temperature control valves can be applied in some way. Apply the valve at the discharge side of the heat exchanger to keep the heat exchanger tubes flooded and prevent building air in the exchanger. Air can create a loss of performance and lead to overheating situations. The Sterlco 56T valve works fairly simply the valve has a gas filled capillary that when heated or cooled causes the gas to expand or contract moving a diaphragm in and out controlling the water flow rate internally. The bulb as it is called is inserted into the line or tank where the temperature is to be controlled. The Sterlco 56T valve is pretty simple yet very effective in saving thousands of gallons of water use per year. No wiring or electric to use and they are adjustable within a normal hydraulic system range such as 60F – 140F. Bulb sizes, capillary lengths, standard temperature ranges (40-100F, 60-140F, 100-175F, 125-200F, 140-240F, and more) and valve sizes from 3/8” thru 2-1/2” npt or ansi flange are all available.

Sterlco 56T valves operate independently of the heat exchanger so that they can be applied just about anywhere in the return line. Special bulb wells are available that insert into a tank or line allowing the valve to be removed from the tank without draining. Water quality and temperature do affect the operation and the operational life of the valve, the maintenance schedule and the reliability. If applied correctly these 56T style valves can reap large rewards. See this product and others that will increase the productivity of your water control system at www.toboaenergy.com/56t-temperature-control-valves/.


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