5.16 Pumping Systems

College Park, Maryland chilled water supply and return
College Park, Maryland chilled
water supply and return

Pump and Piping Systems. The system shall utilize parallel piping systems with a two-pipe main distribution system arranged in a reverse return configuration. Series loop piping for terminal or branch circuits shall be equipped with automatic flow control valves at terminal units (all types of heat transfer units). Reverse return is considered because it provides the best overall control and maintenance of a balanced system as the system is modified. Each terminal unit or coil shall be provided with isolation valves on both the supply and return, and a flow-indicating balance valve on the return line. Isolation valves shall be provided on all major pipe branches, such as at each floor level, building wing or mechanical room.

Each pumping system shall be provided with two pumps, one operating while the other is in standby mode. These pumps shall be configured for automatic lead/ lag operation.

Each boiler shall be provided with a control and piping arrangement, which protects the boiler from thermal shock. A primary-secondary piping arrangement with a modulating mixing control valve and higher primary flow rate will assure that the boiler return water temperature does not drop too low, as commonly occurs with night setback. Hydronic hot water space heating pumps should generally be selected to operate at 1750 RPM. Variable volume pumping systems shall be provided for all secondary piping systems with pump horsepower greater than 10 kW (15 HP).

Refer also to provisions in Piping Systems in this chapter.

Pressurized diaphragm expansion tanks shall be used when available in appropriately sized manufactured products. Air separators and vents must be provided on hot water systems to remove accumulated air within the system. Automatic bleed valves shall only be used in accessible spaces in mechanical rooms where they can be observed by maintenance personnel and must be piped directly to open drains.Manual bleed valves shall be used at terminal units and other less accessible high points in the system. Air vents shall be provided at all localized high points of the piping systems and at each heating coil. Likewise, system drains shall be provided at all localized low points of the heating system and at each heating coil.

Hydronic, Closed Loop Systems. Closed piping systems are unaffected by static pressure; therefore, pumping is required only to overcome the dynamic friction losses. Pumps used in closed loop hydronic piping shall be designed to operate to the left of the peak efficiency point on their curves (higher head, less flow). This compensates for variances in pressure drop between calculated and actual values without causing pump overloading. Pumps with steep curves shall not be used, as they tend to limit system flow rates.

Variable Flow Pumping. Variable flows occur when two way control valves are used to modulate heat transfer. The components of a variable volume pumping system include pumps, distribution piping, control valves and terminal units, and will also include boilers and chillers unless a primary-secondary arrangement is used. All components of the system are subject to variable flow rates. It is important to provide a sufficient pressure differential across every circuit to allow design flow capacity at all times.

Flow may be varied by variable speed pumps or staged multiple pumps. Pumps should operate at no less than 75 percent efficiency on their performance curve. Variable flow pumping must be designed carefully. Package systems should be used, complete with pumps and controls factory-tested prior to shipment.

Chillers and most boilers may experience flow-related heat exchange problems if flow is not maintained above a minimum rate. For this reason, separate, constant flow primary water pumps are recommended for variable volume pumping systems.

Primary/Secondary Pumping. In this application, primary and secondary circuits are separate, with neither having an effect on the pumping head of the other. The primary circuit serves source equipment (chiller or boiler), while the secondary circuit serves the load. Primary/secondary pumping arrangements allow increased system temperature design drops, decreased pumping horsepower and increased system control. The primary loop and pumps are dedicated and sized to serve the flow and temperature differential requirements of the primary source equipment. This permits the secondary pump and loop to be sized and controlled to provide the design flow rate and temperature differential required to satisfy the heating or cooling loads. Primary/secondary systems are recommended for larger buildings (circulation of more than 76 L/s (1,000 gpm)) and campus facilities.


Last Reviewed 2016-08-02