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A gas valve is not just a gas valve. You need to choose the right valve for your facility’s systems. Failure to achieve this may lead to a number of different risks, any of which could be catastrophic for your business. Of course, dealing with gas is a serious consideration, and you need to make sure that your facility is up to the task. The right valve selection is a big part of this.
Gas escaping due to a poor fit
Perhaps the most obvious danger of selecting the wrong gas valve is the risk of gas escaping through the joins between the valve and the pipework. These joins represent a weak point in your system, so particular attention must be paid to the size of the valve to ensure it is compatible with the pipework.
If the valve does not fit properly, gas may begin to escape. In the very best case, this will make your facility non-compliant with state and federal-level safety regulations and will result in reduced efficiency through wastage. In the worst case, you, your teams, and the general public will be put at direct risk.
It may be difficult to properly identify the valve size requirements for older systems of pipework. This is why it is vital that you engage the services of a qualified professional to assess the correct valve size for your system.
Damage caused by the wrong rating
Just because a gas valve is appropriate for use in a certain type of system does not necessarily mean it will be suitable for another. Even if the gas valve is the right size, it may not be rated for your specific use case. Utilizing a valve with the wrong rating can result in damage to the valve – either immediately when gas flows through the system or over time – which will then lead to gas escaping into the facility.
Each valve will be rated for a certain temperature and pressure during operation. In some cases, you may need to operate your gas system at extreme temperatures, and certain use cases may generate high levels of pressure within the pipework itself. Check the valve’s rating carefully to ensure it is suitable for your purposes.
As a general rule, metal valves tend to be able to handle extreme temperatures and pressures better than their plastic counterparts. However, you will still need to check the rating of your specific valve to make sure it is up to the task.
A lack of capability for your facility
Valves may perform various functions for your facility. These include:
- Ball valves – A single-direction valve with an internal ball that opens and closes the aperture.
- Needle valves – A valve with a tapered section that can be opened and closed.
- Check valves – A valve designed to prevent any backward flow of materials in the pipes, adding an extra level of safety.
- Metering valves – Valves that can be adjusted to allow only a pre-determined flow of material through the pipework, ensuring stability in the system.
- Relief valves – A valve intended to reduce pressure in the system by strategically releasing gas when required.
- Pinch valves – A valve with an insert that squeezes the aperture closed when pressure is applied.
- Regulators – Gas flow regulator valves are used to manage the pressure within the pipework system.
- Stopcocks – A valve with a faucet-like handle attachment that can be controlled manually. Can be used as a central shut-off point for the system.
Check that the valve provides the capability your teams need to effectively manage your pipework. Selecting the wrong type of valve will make this management difficult.
Reduced lifespan from substandard materials
Gas valves can be purchased wholesale at very cheap prices from suppliers worldwide. While this may seem like a great way to keep costs down at your facility, in fact, the opposite is true. Many of these valves are manufactured using substandard materials that can result in malfunction and degradation within your system.
Low-quality valves may be up to 50% cheaper than higher-quality, professionally tested, American-made valves, but the material also tends to crack and corrode far more quickly. This results in a dangerous situation as hazardous gas could escape from these substandard valves and be released into the atmosphere.
Difficulty in inspection and maintenance
Sourcing valves on the cheap may also result in other problems. Valves produced in the US are designed with American regulations in mind, and this means they are intended to be inspected and maintained on a regular schedule. Failing to adhere to this schedule of maintenance can result in non-compliance with regulation, as well as a high level of risk for your personnel.
Responsible suppliers will provide you with literature and information that you can use to carry out these inspections. Your inspection teams will know precisely what to look for and how to check the ongoing capability of the valve. Your team will also be able to trust the manufacture dates provided by the supplier, so there is no danger of the valve exceeding its operational lifespan without your inspection teams realizing.
A lack of support
Working with the right valve from the right supplier means your business is connected to ongoing support and assistance. If you need to expand your facility and grow your operations, you may need to place a major order. You may also need to reach out to the supplier with any questions or concerns about how to deploy your valves. This may not be possible if you opt for a provider of cheap valve products, particularly if they are located overseas.
Such providers may fold at short notice, or they may suddenly become unreachable. This leaves you and your business in a difficult situation, and this is something you can avoid by only working with reliable and reputable suppliers.
Selecting the right valve from the right provider is worth the investment
While choosing the correct valve may result in increased costs up front, it’s likely to lead to considerable savings down the line. Failure to comply with applicable regulations could result in a hefty fine.