All plumbing systems should be designed with future servicing in mind. In a typical closed-loop system, maintenance usually involves a four-step process: draining the existing fluid, flushing with a descaling/cleaning solution, rinsing out the solution, and refilling with new fluid. During installation, contractors will designate a purging station and a filling station in anticipation of such a process. Each station would consist of a hose drain to purge or fill, and a ball valve to isolate it from the rest of the system.
To consolidate components and to avoid draining the system completely, contractors began fabricating combined purging and filling stations. A pair of assemblies each consisting of a boiler drain, tee, and close nipple would be installed, with a central ball valve placed in between the two stations for isolation. By opening the drain valves and closing the ball valve in the middle, the system loop would open. Then, when new fluid was introduced via the filling station, the flow would displace old fluid through the system and out the decoupled purging station on the other side of the ball valve. Through some clever fabrication, what was once a four step process was now just one step.
Though this assembly does its job to simplify the process, it’s not without its drawbacks. Field fabrications, though functional, are an inelegant solution. Contractors need to take into account the bulkiness of such an assembly when designing the system layout, which can be a challenge when space is limited. Aside from the lengthy footprint, this assembly also introduces three valves and four fittings into the system, increasing labor and leak paths with each component used. These disadvantages have long been accepted by contractors as a necessary evil in designing a system that expedites the purging and filling process.
Enter the Webstone Purge & Fill. An all-in-one forged brass valve alternative, it eliminates 6 leak paths and saves the installer nearly one hour of labor. Its patented design not only streamlines installation, but it also employs the same principals explained above to facilitate future servicing of the closed loop. The three-way ball quickly isolates the flow between the two hose connections, allowing new fluid to enter the system through the top fill drain. The fluid will then flow through the system, forcing out the old fluid until it completes the circuit through the bottom purge drain. By displacing the old fluid with the new, contractors can avoid the timely process of draining and filling the system between each step of the maintenance process.
The Purge & Fill was designed for use anywhere that requires routine maintenance of the fluids within a closed-loop. In applications where piping systems are exposed to the elements, a heat transfer fluid like propylene glycol is added to the water to prevent freezing. This fluid mixture will run through the loop, utilizing a heat exchanger to prevent direct contact with any potable water distribution. Over time, this fluid must be replaced, and the piping system should be cleaned or descaled if needed. This is an ideal application for the Purge & Fill because it allows the loop to maintain normal operating conditions as it is simultaneously purged and filled during servicing.
In solar heating systems, the valve can be placed within the heat collection loop. Here the fluid mixture will circulate through the solar collectors, gathering heat that is then distributed to the potable water through the heat exchanger.
In snowmelt applications, the valve can be placed within the heat distribution loop, where the fluid mixture will pass through the heat exchanger and distribute heat through a series of tubing under an outdoor surface.
The fluid mixture’s levels within either loop in must be checked and replaced periodically to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the system. With the Purge & Fill installed in each loop, the fluid can easily be inspected, flushed, and refilled as needed.
Available with threaded or sweat connections and in sizes ¾” through 1 ½”, the Purge & Fill is suitable for any closed-loop system. Its single body forged brass construction features heavy duty brass and hi-flow hose drains. The reversible handle is accompanied by an adjustable packing gland and blow-out proof stem that offer versatility and dependability throughout the life of the product.
Inspired by the field fabrication solutions that came before it, the Purge & Fill is part of Webstone’s Pro-Pal series; a line of step-saving valves designed with the professional in mind. The result is a cleaner looking installation, with fewer components and more efficient system operation. Like all Webstone products, the Purge & Fill is guaranteed for life.