Maintaining Good Housekeeping Practices
The health of the fluid control system will only be as good as each component’s health. Due to their small size, the solenoid valves can occasionally be overlooked when you are conducting regular maintenance. Since the Solenoid Valves are in charge of controlling gases, air, steam and other fluids in complex systems, neglect during maintenance can lead to huge issues with the application.
The need for proper maintenance should not be overlooked. It can extend the valve’s life and make sure that consistent operation is possible for years to come. Here are some basic guides you can use to troubleshoot Solenoid Valves.
The best way to enhance the performance and life of the valve is to see how it meets the demands of the application. If there are any maintenance issues, it could be due to the fact that you have selected the wrong valve. Here are some factors you should keep in mind during selection:
- The Environment: The media flowing through the solenoid valve can be less harsh than the outside conditions. The coil should be protected from thermal cycling and moisture.
- The Media: Solenoid Valves come in different designs according to the flow criteria, temperature, and pressure of the media that is going through it. You need to choose valve materials which are compatible with your application.
- The Application: Solenoid Valves have all sorts of uses, so selecting the right valve for the right application is important. Valve sizing is critical. The size of the pipe does not always indicate the size of the valve. For example, a ¾” valve may be properly sized for a 1” pipe after considering determining the pressure and flow ratings, and port size.
Make sure to depressurize the system and disconnect the power before you begin work on the valve. You also have to be mindful of safety procedures if there are any hazardous or corrosive substances involved.
If the valve is in humid or wet conditions, check the electrical coil for cracks. You should keep an eye out for any cracks in the coil and make sure that the valve is free from any corrosion or damage which could cause a short.
If you want to inspect the valve’s internals, you will have to remove the coil. You may need a Piston Ring Compressor Tool to slide the piston back into the valve body. These tools are readily available from the factory at a nominal charge. Once the electrical coil is off, expose the internal parts by removing the bonnet assembly and bonnet ring (where necessary). Be careful not to “wrench” the bonnet tube in order to remove the assembly. Also, when installing or removing the valve from the line – do not use the tube as a lever for tightening or loosening the valve in line. Inspect them for the following damage:
- Check the bonnet seal (O’Ring). It shouldn’t be deteriorated, cracked, or swollen.
- Inspect the Piston Spring and Lift Spring (on Normally Open valves). The springs should be whole – not broken or worn out.
- Look inside the body, the orifice (seat) should not be nicked at all, and the crest should not be worn out. Check the valve body bore for gouges or scoring.
- The top or outer diameter of the plunger, it should not be misshapen from wear.
If any of the above damages have occurred, there are three choices:
- Replace the Solenoid Valve.
- Contact the factory for a Rebuild Kit for the Solenoid Valve and Replace the parts yourself. OR
- Remove the Solenoid Valve from the line and Return it to the factory to be Rebuilt or Replaced.
Troubleshooting Solenoid Valves should be an integral part of your Maintenance Schedule for your system. Meaningful Maintenance Intervals are important. Too frequent checks lead to complacency and skipping Maintenance for long periods will lead to costly oversights.