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How to optimize your hydronic system

To optimize your hydronic system, you need to balance the work load of both the chillers and the pumps to transfer exactly the right amount of needed energy at the right time throughout the system. This may sound complicated, but there are smart solutions to this that you will learn more about in this article.

A hydronic heating or chilling system needs to be balanced. All units participating in the system should work together for optimal performance and to avoid energy waste. But a good start is selecting individual components that are optimized for the task.

Take, for instance, a chiller – though the principles apply to heaters as well. First, you need to determine the nominal conditions in which the chiller will work, ensuring that it will be up to the task when running at a 100 percent capacity. In northern Italy, for example, a chiller should be able to handle outside temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius.

However, the unit will seldom need to run at full capacity – the temperature varies over the day, and potentially reaches 35 degrees for only short periods of the year. Clearly, the chiller should be designed to avoid wasting energy when not needed.

But it is just as important to look beyond the chiller and study the overall system, where there are more opportunities for fine-tuning. Another important component to optimize is the pump, which circulates the water needed for the chilling process.

Simpler pumps are designed to always run at full capacity, constantly consuming the same amount of energy, which is not very efficient. A smarter pump would be able to provide only the flow needed to convey the right amount of energy to the chilling process. For example, installing an inverter on the system makes it possible to modulate the pump to run at the desired level of efficiency.

A smart integrated system makes the difference

To get the most out of optimization, you need a smart, integrated system that can balance the work load of both the chillers and the pumps – at all times determining the right level of pumping to transfer the needed energy through the system.

In comfort solutions, in for example offices, the requests vary widely over the day. They depend on the position of the sun, varying outside temperatures and office occupancy. To have a system that is energy efficient even at part load is critical to avoid waste.

In industrial applications, for example IT solutions, the load is more or less constant. Here, other variables make energy efficiency at less than full capacity critical. One such variable is the need to optimize the use of free cooling in redundant systems, where one or more units often run at partial loads.

If you are interested in optimizing a hydronic system, the Flowzer series has a wide variety of components and solutions, covering a large number of needs when designing an energy efficient plant.

Contact us if you need advice on how to optimize or design your hydronic system.