Winter is already in full swing and you probably already notice that operating your pumps is more challenging when the weather is colder. The colder it gets, the more difficult it is to run and maintain pumps efficiently, especially if you are pumping remote locations.
Slurry pumps are known to struggle the most during cold temperature operations, but almost all pumps will face some challenges. Water can freeze, causing issues like thermal shock, clogs and internal damage to critical components. This leads to expensive downtime for maintenance and repairs. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to winterize your pumps and keep them running more efficiently throughout the cold winter months.
Here are five steps as recommended by Cortech Engineering:
- Protecting Your Equipment from the Elements
Certain components like pipes, mechanical seals and bearings are extremely vulnerable during freezing conditions. The more you can insulate your key parts and keep them directly out of the elements, the better. You can protect them with wrapping, lubrication and heat tracing. A heated shelter for the pump is also recommended.
- Check Your Lubrication Often
Without proper lubrication, parts can seize up and suffer serious damage. It can be a real challenge to maintain the oil during freezing temperatures. The pump bearings will require the most attention. Make sure to use oil with the right viscosity andweight to handle the coldest expected air temperature. Depending on your bearing size, a synthetic oil might be a good option.
- V-Drive and Pneumatic Preparation
If you have pneumatically actuated isolation valves , make sure your air dryer is working properly. If you have v-drives, late fall or early winter is a good time to install new belts before they become a problem. It can be really difficult and time-consuming to have to replace belts when it’s freezing outside!
- Clear All Water to Prevent Freezing
If you are dealing with sub-zero conditions and you are planning to shut down your pump for any period of time, be sure to completely drain it. Otherwise, it can freeze, expand and cause lots of damage. Follow the manufacturer’s specified shutdown procedures to ensure safe and complete drainage.
- Careful Operation
Be especially careful while operating pumps in freezing temperatures. Extra attention to details is required to prevent thermal shock or other freezing problems. The stuffing box will need a constant supply of water, which may need to be heated/insulated to avoid ice buildup. Little things like this will make a big difference to keep your pump running under the toughest conditions.
By following these tips, you should be able to keep your pumps running more efficiently and help prevent breakdowns and damage. For more help with installing, configuring and maintaining your pump system this winter, contact Cortech Engineering today.