SMART VALVE FAQs
How Does Water Pressure Affect My Consumption?
The higher the pressure is in a system the more water that will be ‘pushed’ through the system. We are seeing higher and higher city pressure readings as municipalities grow and must deliver more and more water through their existing infrastructure. The only way to deliver more water is to replace the water system with larger pipes, which in most cases is not a feasible option, or to ‘crank up’ the pressure.
This is a problem because water fixtures are designed for pressure no higher than 65 PSI, and even more so in older facilities where there is no pressure regulator, or water fixtures were not designed for water conservation.
Is There Really Air In My Water?
There is no debate that air flows through your water line along with the water. Water systems are designed with this fact in mind to try to prevent potentially serious problems such as air blocks and hammering. The only real question is how much air? The amount is not constant and is affected by things such as system pressure, pressure fluctuations, temperature, turbulence, and by the design and condition of the water supply system. It can vary from a little to a lot at any given time.
How Does Air Get Into The Water Line?
As well as being released from entrainment in water, air can be physically introduced to water distribution systems. Water providers work to prevent outside air infusion, however, air is inevitably drawn into the line through:
- Tiny cracks, poor or damaged joint seals and leaking flange connections.
- Temperature, flow rate and pressure changes can generate a significant amount of air volume.
- Pumps that are positioned throughout the distribution system create pockets of air in the pipeline as a result of the vortex action of pumps.
- Surprisingly common main line breakages which can introduce huge amounts of air into the water system.
“Air behaves very unpredictably in a pipeline…in the normal operation of water pipeline system, maintenance activities and fluctuating period of consumption in demand will cause air to be released from solution and accumulate in the localized piping” – A New Understanding Of Air Transfer – Clean Water Legacy, January, 2003
How Am I Paying For The Air?
The most commonly used water meters (over 99%) use a method known as Positive Displacement to measure water consumption. These meters measure the volume of fluid moving through the line. This volume measurement, however, is not limited to just water and instead measures the total volume of both water and air.
How Does The Smart Valve™ Save Me Money?
In a number of ways:
- It stops you from being charged for any volume of air present in your water supply by compressing the air volume before it reaches your meter.
- Prevents pressure drops from water usage from reaching the water meter.
- It keeps your water meter operating within its designed flow range.
- It reduces over-supply caused by higher-than-desired city pressure.
How Much Money Will I Save?
The amount of money you will save is determined by several factors including:
- City pressure (PSI) and amount of pressure fluctuation
- Flow rate and flow capacity (GPM)
- The amount of air in the line at any given time
- The amount of non-volumetric water consumption
The actual savings you will experience is impossible to accurately predict and will vary with the conditions above. On average, our customers see +/- 20% savings, but we have seen users have savings as high as 35% and as low as 10%. What’s important is that once you install the SMART VALVE™ it begins working 24/7/365. You will realize the full amount of savings available within your water supply without having to ever think about it again, and it will keep saving you money for as long as it is installed your water line.
Does Air Still Go Through The Water Meter?
The SMART VALVE™ does NOT remove the air. It simply compresses the air before it reaches your meter. Once compressed, the air flows through the meter undetected. After the air passes through the water meter and the valve it returns to its original state.
Will The SMART VALVE™ Affect My Water Pressure?
Anytime you put something in your water line it will create some pressure drop. Even your water meter causes a pressure drop. For the Smart Valve to work the system must be able to tolerate at least a small drop in PSI, however, with the 2nd Generation Smart Valve we can control the amount of PSI drop between zero (no effect) and a significant pressure drop. In certain cases where a larger pressure drop is desirable, we can dial that in with the external adjustment feature, often by as much as 30 PSI or more.
As a rule of thumb, if you currently have no problems or complaints due to low water pressure, then your property is a suitable candidate for the Smart Valve.
Is The SMART VALVE™ Safe And Legal To Install?
The SMART VALVE™ is legal to install on the user side of the water meter (after the backflow preventer if one is present). Installation must be done in conjunction with all applicable laws, codes and standard plumbing practice in your area, however, no special permits or permission should be necessary.
The SMART VALVE™ is constructed of extremely strong and durable Acetron GP and stainless steel, is in compliance with NSF / ANSI 61 (potable water) and NSF / ANSI 372 (lead free) and is safe for use with all potable and non-potable water applications.
How Reliable Is The SMART VALVE™?
The SMART VALVE’s only movement function is the compression of a spring and the associated opening and closing of a gasket-less plunger and housing. The valve is made of Acetron GP and stainless steel. Acetron GP is self-lubricating and has strength characteristics close to those of steel while still being flexible and impact absorbent.
The SMART VALVE comes with a 10-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty, however the valve should continue to work reliably for much longer.
Wouldn’t An All Metal Smart Valve™ Be Better?
No, it would be much more expensive, need maintenance and be likely to fail prematurely. Metals can corrode, they will accumulate particulates such as dirt or scale and will fail over time. The Smart Valve is made primarily from Acetron GP produced by Quadrants, and it is the absolute ideal material for this type of application.
Why Is An Externally Adjustable Valve Better?
The valve must be properly calibrated to your system to achieve maximum savings without any negative effects. A non-adjustable valve must be calibrated BEFORE installation. Because your system is not in a laboratory and real-world conditions are variable, calibrating properly before installation is at best an educated guess. Furthermore, conditions can change and the initial calibration can become incorrect. With a non-adjustable valve, the only way to fix this is to call the plumber, turn off the water, remove the valve, make an adjustment, re-install it and hope it’s set right this time until conditions change again. With an externally adjustable valve the calibration is done AFTER installation. This allows us to achieve the perfect calibration to achieve maximum savings with no negative effects – EVERY TIME. And, if in the future conditions change, you can adjust the valve stronger or weaker…all the way to a ‘zero’ setting if needed, without the need for a plumber or interrupting your water supply ever again.
Should I Put The Smart Valve™ On Every Water Meter?
Most water meters are candidates. There are some rare instances where the water meter is not a candidate for the SMART VALVE™. These include where the water usage is too low for a reasonable return on investment, or where there are currently low-pressure problems.
Your local distributor will help you assess whether your property is a good candidate for the Smart Valve. Rest assured, if you shouldn’t install a SMART VALVE™ we will be the first to let you know.
The SMART VALVE™ should NEVER be installed on a water system supplying firefighting water..
Why Is The Smart Valve™ Custom-Made?
Conditions can vary widely by location and each water system is unique. We custom build each valve to be calibrated for optimum performance in your local conditions, and in a configuration for the easiest possible installation within your specific water system.
How Difficult/Expensive Is It To Install The Smart Valve™?
The valve is designed to fit into standard pipe sizes and can be easily installed by any licensed plumber. Flow Dynamics does not install the SMART VALVE directly but your sales representative can arrange the installation for you by a qualified local plumber at a competitive rate. You are also free to use your own favorite plumber. The cost will vary by the valve size, local plumber rates, and the configuration of your water system. As an example, a 2” SMART VALVE typically takes 45-60 minutes to install.
Does The Smart Valve™ Really Work?
Yes, it really does work and it’s amazing! We guarantee it will save you money!
What Is The Guarantee On The Smart Valve™?
Every SMART VALVE™ comes with a 90-Day
What Is The Warranty On Smart Valve™?
Every SMART VALVE™ comes with a