When you are located in a cold-weather area, winterizing your water pump system will prevent pipes from freezing, seals from cracking, and significant damage from occurring. Whether you are running the pump system or shutting it down for the season—even in areas with warmer climates—there are winterization strategies that will keep your pump system safe.
Ice is Not Nice for Pumps
Icing is the main risk to avoid. When water within the pump expands, the tragic result is a shutdown, closed system, and significant damage. Even partial freezing of the water inside the system can be problematic, as the pump will have to work harder to process the fluid. Clogs and internal damage can occur as ice chunks travel through the pump and piping.
Indoor Storage and Winter Maintenance
Naturally, the best solution for protecting a pump system from the winter elements is to bring it indoors in a temperature controlled environment. A benefit to the Winter season is that it is a great time to perform maintenance, repairs, and system adjustments. So, if you choose to bring the pump inside, seize the opportunity to get this work done so that it is ready to operate when warmer weather returns.
Outdoor Pump System Winterization
If your operation is outdoors and you need the pump equipment during the winter months, this will not be an option. Portable pumps may be stored inside when not in use. Larger outdoor pump systems will pose more challenges.
A pump in continuous operation will generally be fine as long as the feed water remains thawed before it goes through the system. Still, you will want to monitor fluid and motor temperatures to ensure everything is running at peak efficiency. Drops in temperature can be catastrophic, while overheating presents its own risks, especially if the equipment is overworked in processing the colder water and ice particles.
Keeping Your Pump System Healthy in the Winter
Drain all excess water out of the pump when not in use. Similarly, make sure the intake and ejection ports are left open, along with the drain plugs. All valves and heads should be left open, as well. This allows air into the pump while letting any excess water drain out. You can use an air compressor to blow out the water manually, and it may be a good idea to cover the pump with something such as a drop cloth or thermal blanket to keep parts from violently expanding and contracting in changing external temperatures. Remember, metals like steel will expand when heated and contract when cold, putting additional stress on key connection points, mechanical seals, sleeves, and other metallic components when the temperature drops below freezing.
Depending on the complexity of your water pump system, you will want to take specific steps to winterize any pump equipment before storage or before firing it up for daily usage. Check with the pump manufacturer or work with your pump service provider to develop a specific winter maintenance plan for your pump system and water pumping application.
For help with all your winter pump system configuration, installation, maintenance, and repair needs, count on the team at DXP Pacific. Contact us today to learn more about our services.