Actuators are mechanical devices that are used to open and close valves, dampers and vents in all types of processes. They convert energy – a burst of air, electricity, or a liquid – and trigger a controlled reaction. Solenoid actuators are three-dimensional coils or loops of wire that convert energy into linear motion to trigger a pneumatic or hydraulic (fluid) valve. In addition to use in furnaces, solenoid actuators are used in a number of applications including electric bell assemblies, automotive starter systems, industrial air hammers, and other devices where a sudden burst of power is necessary.
Blowers and damper vents in home heating furnaces use actuators to open and close them which allows hot air into the house and sends gases outside. A signal is sent from the thermostat to the actuator which energizes it and opens the damper. The actuator is de-energized once the damper is open and remains idle until the correct temperature has been reached. Upon reaching the necessary temperature, the operation repeats to close the damper. The actuator again remains idle until the next heating cycle.
How to Buy a Replacement Solenoid Actuator
The advantage of solenoid actuators over other types is that they have a quick operation. They are much easier to install than pneumatic or hydraulic actuators, however, solenoid actuators have two disadvantages: only two positions are possible (fully open and fully closed), and they don't produce much force and, therefore, can only operate relatively small valves.
Rotary solenoid actuators can be purchased from online replacement parts vendors as well as plumbing and heating stores. The necessary specifications to buy the correct replacement include the torque and stroke required, as well as the height, length, and width of the unit.
Manufacturers of Solenoid Actuators
- Alco Control Group
- Nico Valves Corp
- Wellgrow Industries Corp.