The plumbing float valve is a simple mechanical liquid level controller. Afloat after detecting the changes of elevation in the liquid free surface opens or closes a valve accordingly. Small float valves are hugely used in domestic water systems. The float valve maintains the level in the cold water header tank which regulated the pressure of the hot water system. In toiler cisterns, a much smaller float valve is fitted to measure the flush water.
Inside a toilet tank, the float ball gets attached to the ballcock, with the help of a horizontal, thin arm. The valve which allows the water back inside the tank after the flushing of the toilet is known as the ballcock. As the name implies, the float ball floats on the surface of the tank water when the toilet is not in use. Just when the handle of the toilet is pressed and the water from the tank drops into the bowl, along with the water level, the float ball drops which signal the ballcock for allowing more water inside the tank. With the rise of water level again, the float ball also rises until it reaches a certain height and asks the ballcock to shut off.
Domestic valves are cast in brass or bronze or injection molded in plastic. On a rising liquid level, most of the valves close, but on industrial valves, this can be reversed. For allowing the maintenance without needing to drain the tank, above the level of liquid on the tank side the valve is mounted. By bending the ball arm, on low-cost valves, the liquid level is adjusted. High class valves have bolted connections in the arm for facilitating the adjustment. If the outlet of the valve is unzipped down the liquid level, aeration to a great extent can be done with the incoming liquid. Problems that are pretty serious with the pumps operating extremely close to the NPSH or NPIP limit are created by aeration. On the liquid surface, waves can also be created by plumbing float valves this in turn can cause surge problems. The float valve is caused to modulate by the waves and vary the liquid’s flow rate. The problem gets worse by the flow modulation. Damage can be done on the seat and the disc when modulation occurs close to valve closure and symptoms of water hammer are induced. Due to surge, significant disturbance problems are suffered by the inlet process system. The needles fall off and the Pressure gauges vibrate. Erratic readings are produced by Pressure transducers and flow meters offer wrong readings. The liquid surface needs to be stabilized for eradicating the problem. Work can be done over diffusing the flow and piping the outlet under the surface.
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