Now that summer is over, we can expect to see temperatures gradually decline as we enter the last months of the year. Before it gets too cold outside, it would be smart to start thinking about preparing your facility for the winter. The last thing you want is for your pipes to freeze over from the chilly weather. This blog will focus on how you can keep the pipes in your facility from getting clogged with ice.
Pipe Freeze Protection
When most people think about frozen pipes, they tend to think about residential homes. However, homes aren’t the only structures susceptible to frozen pipes. It can happen to commercial and industrial properties as well. When this happens, it can create all kinds of problems.
One of the most common problems caused by frozen pipes is pipe damage. When liquid freezes within a pipe, it can cause a clog resulting in a build-up of pressure, eventually leading to the pipe bursting. Even more troubling is the potential that frozen pipes have to cause safety systems to malfunction, like fire sprinklers.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to prevent pipes from freezing over. Just follow these tips and you’ll be able to greatly reduce the odds of water freezing in your plumbing.
Invest in a Freeze Protection Valve
Freeze protection valves are an effective water pipe freeze protection tool for preventing pipe damage. Rather than using steam or heat to prevent the formation of ice, these valves work by draining or bleeding water as the temperature inside the pipe approaches freezing. This draining causes warmer water from the resupply line to backfill and prevent the line from freezing. Once the temperature of the water in the pipe is above the danger range for freezing, the valve will close back up.
It’s important to keep in mind that ice can still form even with these valves present. However, if ice does form, it will form in a way that creates a layer around the inside shell of the pipe. This layer actually acts as a form of insulation, reducing further heat loss.
One of the best ways to prevent ice blockages is to insulate your pipes. The cost of insulating your pipes is a minor investment compared to what the cost would be to replace pipes that have burst. All water pipes that run along the exterior of the building or those that are located in unheated interior spaces should be insulated.
You or a mechanical service technician can fit these vulnerable pipes with insulation sleeves. The most common kinds of pipe insulation sleeves are made from fiberglass, polyethylene, or foam rubber. The more insulation, the better the results.
Inspect the Pipes
Inspecting your pipes is something you should be doing on a regular basis. However, it’s even more important to do it during the winter. Be aware of any leaks or wear and tear on your piping. These weaknesses in your system could fail in a big way when temperatures drop.
Check Your Thermostat
If you’re going to be away from the building for an extended period, say you and your employees will be gone for the holidays, it might be tempting to turn off the heat. Boilers do use a lot of energy, so turning it would save money on your energy bills. However, if an extreme cold spell happens during this time, it could mean disaster for your pipes. It’s best to make sure your thermostat never drops below 55 degrees.
Drain the Water
An alternative to keeping your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit on throughout winter is to drain the pipes. If you’re going to be gone from your building for a while, drain your pipes so there’s no water at all. When there’s no water, there’s nothing that can freeze.
Protect Your Pipes
At A&G Services, we specialize in mechanical, plumbing, and piping services. If you’re concerned about the condition of your pipes, reach out to us and we’ll send one of our experts your way. From chiller freeze protection to process piping, we offer all of the services you need to keep your facility running.
Contact us today to learn more about our services.