Tutorial on Pneumatic Controls for Heating Systems

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Pneumatic controls for heating or HVAC systems typically consist of a pneumatic temperature sensor, a pneumatic controller and a valve. The sensor sends a signal to the controller which, in turn, controls the valve position.

  1. Compressor

    • The source of compressed air is typically an electrically driven air compressor, with an output of 25 horsepower (hp) or less. The size of the compressor is such that it operates for one-third of the time and is idle for the other two-thirds; this helps to prolong the life of the compressor.

    Air Supply

    • Pneumatic controls for heating systems must have a supply of clean, dry compressed air. The air must typically pass through very small passages, or orifices, so any dirt, oil or moisture in the air cannot be tolerated. Most systems employ a dedicated air compressor and tank with sophisticated systems for filtering and drying the air.

    Control

    • In large heating systems, it may be necessary to employ two compressors -- controlled by a single switch and an alternator -- to improve reliability. Air is typically compressed to a pressure between 60 and 80 pounds per square inch gauge (psig).

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References

  • "Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology"; William C. Whitman, William M. Johnson, John A. Tomczyk; 2004
  • "HVAC Fundamentals"; Samuel C. Sugarman; 2005
  • "Control Systems for Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning"; Roger W. Haines, Douglas C. Hittle; 2006

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