Pressure Reducing Valve
Automatic Control Valves, Pressure Reducing Valves

A Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) is an Automatic Control Valve designed to reduce a higher unregulated inlet pressure to a constant, reduced downstream (outlet) pressure regardless of variations in demand and/or upstream (inlet) water pressure.
Pilot Operated Pressure Reducing Valves

The throttled position of the main valve is controlled by an adjustable pilot valve operating in conjunction with an orifice (or needle valve). The pilot valve senses the downstream (outlet) pressure and reacts immediately as the outlet pressure increases or decreases with varying demand.

The pilot senses the downstream (outlet) pressure and reacts immediately to add or remove water from the top of the main valve diaphragm assembly, allowing the valve to reposition and throttle as the outlet pressure tends to increase or decrease with varying flow demand. The pilot diaphragm will automatically sense the changes in the flow of the system as it continuously controls the main valve to throttle or to open or close and maintain the desired, preset reduced outlet pressure. The throttling action of the main valve provides the required reduced downstream pressure.

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pressure-reducing valve is a self-operating valve that is used to reduce any excess pressure in a system. Sometimes this valve is also known as pressure reducing regulator. The basic function of pressure-reducing valves is to reduce higher pressure into lower. They are commonly used in water, steam, and oil & gas industries. A Pressure Reducing Valve can be defined as a self-acting automatic control valve for reducing a higher unregulated inlet pressure to a constant, reduced outlet pressure regardless of the fluctuations in the upstream water pressure. In this article, we will learn about the functions, types, applications, and advantages of pressure-reducing valves.
Functions of Pressure Reducing Valves

A pressure-reducing valve is able to control pressure through the fully automatic self-contained operation without the necessity of an external power source. The main functions of a

Types of Pressure Reducing Valves

A pressure-reducing valve in a steam system works by balancing the steam with a spring. Most of the modern pressure-reducing valves are manufactured using this basic concept. Based on the mechanism of controlling the valve opening, pressure-reducing valves are classified into two types:


Direct-acting pressure-reducing valves are ideal for small loads where precise pressure control is not required. They are manufactured in a compact size, cheap, and very easy to install. However, they usually have more variation from the set pressure as compared to their pilot-operated counterpart.

Direct-acting pressure-reducing valves are designed for point-of-use installation. This is the simplest type of pressure-reducing valve that operates with either a flat diaphragm or convoluted bellows. It does not need an external sensing line downstream to operate as it is self-contained. The accuracy of direct-acting PRVs is typically (+/-) 10% of the downstream set point.

In direct-acting pressure-reducing valves, the movement of the adjustment spring aids in the valve opening directly. The spring compression creates an opening force on the pressure-reducing valve which increases the flow. As pressure builds downstream, equalizing occurs by feeding the downstream pressure to the underside of the adjustment spring where its upward force counter-balances against the spring compression. The spring compressive force is limited to allow sufficient spring sensitivity to equalize with downstream pressure changes. This causes a simple pressure control through a valve orifice. However, high flow rates can cause pressure variation.
Pilot Operated pressure reducing valve:

Pilot-operated pressure-reducing valves are normally used for larger loads requiring close pressure control. They provide a faster response to load variation and are suitable for a wider range of flow rates as compared to the direct-acting types. They are larger in size and costly.

A pilot-operated pressure-reducing valve uses a pilot valve to load a piston or diaphragm that increases the downward force used to open a larger main valve. This helps in larger flow capacity with a lower pressure variation. By balancing the force between the adjustment spring and the secondary pressure, the opening and closing of the pilot valve are controlled. This pilot valve purposely delivers pressure to the main valve piston or diaphragm. The downward force created by this pilot flow pressure is amplified by the area of the piston or diaphragm that enables the opening of a much larger main valve providing the ability for very high flow rates.

Due to this amplification, a small change in the opening on the pilot valve results in a large change in flow and downstream pressure through the main valve. Therefore, a little change in adjustment spring force on the pilot accomplishes a quick response over a wide range of steam flow rates. The main advantage of a pilot-operated pressure-reducing valve is the quick response and tight downstream pressure control.

There are two types of pilot operated pressure reducing valves:

Applications of Pressure-Reducing Valves

Self-acting pressure-reducing valves are used in the following services:

Air or gas services: Both direct-acting and pilot-operated pressure-reducing valves for air and gas services are used in compressed air systems, power tools, pneumatic control systems, and control valves for industrial gas storage and distribution systems. The selection of the type of pressure-reducing valve for these services is based on the accuracy of control required.

Water services: Pressure-reducing valves find wide application in domestic and industrial water distribution services and fire protection systems. In general, direct-acting pressure-reducing valves are preferred for these services. During high-demand scenarios, maintaining system pressures becomes very difficult. Pressure-reducing valves are used in those lines which can effectively control the pressure downstream to an acceptable limit.

Steam services: The majority of the pressure-reducing valves are used in steam applications involving direct steam supply, steam engines, and turbines.

Other Services: Pressure-reducing valves find their applications in the following:

Advantages of Pressure Reducing Valves

The main advantages of a pressure-reducing valve are:

Pressure Reducing Valve vs Pressure Relief Valve

The main differences between a pressure-reducing valve and a pressure-relief valve are

1.0 Pressure-reducing valves maintain almost constant at the downstream side of the . So, this valve is used only to maintain or reduce the higher pressure. Whereas pressure relief valves are used to protect equipment and systems from high pressure when the system or equipment pressure exceeds the set limit.

2.0 Pressure-reducing valves operate continuously in the line whereas pressure-relief valves pop up only when the set pressure limit is exceeded.

3.0 In a the pilot line senses the outlet pressure whereas in a pressure-relief valve the pilot line senses the inlet 4.0 In normal working conditions, the will be in the open position but the pressure-relief valve remains in a closed positio
The pressure reducing valve may be used for water hammer protection under properly defined conditions. The water hammer events are so fast that the relief of pressure by this means requires very special rapid response valves designed for the particular system.

Pressure relief valves may also be used as an added precaution where some other method is in place as the basic protection device, such as an air vessel.

There are also by-pass valves which are required to operate when a pump stops due to a power failure or normal trip, anticipating the eventual return flow, and then being required to be closed to prevent the excessive waste of the return flow.

Figure 17.1 shows the basic system configuration for the installation of the PRV, where the PRV at (1) is a subsidiary type, maybe at the pump flange and the PRV type at (2) is the anticipating valve.

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