A Complete Guide to Choosing Air Release Valves

A Complete Guide to Choosing Air Release Valves

Did you know air makes its way into our pipelines? It enters through various ways, and once it accumulates, it becomes a problem.

Pockets of air at high points can lead to a line restriction. They cause increased energy consumption and extended pumping cycles.

The solution is an air release valve. As the name suggests, it works by releasing the air back into the atmosphere.

With numerous valve options, how do you choose the right one? Read on for our guide to choosing air release valves.


Automatic valves have different functions. The goal is the same — to protect the pipeline. That said, the first thing you should think of is what you’re looking to do.

Do you need to release large amounts of air? Check out air/vacuum valves. 

For small amounts, air release valves will do. A combination valve can do both.


When choosing valves, take note of the opening size. They let out air and allow it back in during emptying.

The size affects how much air the valve can let in or out. Without the proper sizing, it might not keep up with the airflow demands. 

As such, the first step is to determine the pipeline flow. You may have to calculate the maximum flow rate in gallons per minute, or it can be a constant figure in your system. You also have to compute the MGD and CFM.

You have to consider some other factors, as well, such as:

  • Application 
  • Pipe size and type
  • Pipe wall thickness
  • Fluid medium

Get this information before selecting a product from the store’s catalog. Once you have the proper figures, you may use a guideline or ask a professional.

Type of Fluid

The types of valves correspond with the fluid medium in the pipe. There are two main types of liquids — potable water and wastewater. 

You must determine the fluid medium because of the air content. Wastewater typically contains 6% air, while clean water has about 2%.

Other types exist; pipes may also transfer raw river water, effluent, treated water, and such. It’s crucial to get the correct air release valves to ensure effectiveness and safety.

Operating Pressure

What’s the operating condition of the pipe? It must match the working pressure the release valves can withstand.

The operating pressure — or set point pressure — is a rating corresponding to the highest amount of pressure the valve can flow. If the pressure is above this point, the components may fail.


You should also consider the installation location of the valve. It can be above ground, underground, or in a chamber.

If you’re installing it underground, make sure to get the proper air release set. The valve should vent the air out into the atmosphere.

Choose the Correct Air Release Valves

Protecting the pipeline is the primary goal of air release valves. However, if you don’t choose correctly, you risk doing more harm than good. Avoid this by keeping our guide at arm’s reach whenever you need to buy air valves.

Did you find this article helpful? For more information, check out our other posts today.

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