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  1. #1
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    Default Engaging pump to keep from freezing

    My dept. teaches recirculating water to keep pumps from freezing in sub-zero weather when not flowing water. My question is: On our newest pumper we have a recirculation valve. My thought is to open "tank to pump" then "recirculation valve" on cold jobs when not pumping. Many of the older, "more set in thier way" operators still insist on opening the "tank fill" instead of the "recirc valve" as that is the way they've always done it. I realize both ways will work but I'm thinking the smaller "recirc. valve" plumbing will allow for a little more head pressure, thus warming the water a bit more than the larger "tank fill" valve would. Any opinions?


  2. #2
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    As long as your in pump mode, it doesn't matter if your in recurc or tank fill. The idea is to keep the water moving.

    As well, you don't have to open either valve all the way if you want to create heat in the pump and water. Half way will suffice. If you have both (?), then open each half way.

    FM1

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    Quote Originally Posted by ex3260 View Post
    My dept. teaches recirculating water to keep pumps from freezing in sub-zero weather when not flowing water. My question is: On our newest pumper we have a recirculation valve. My thought is to open "tank to pump" then "recirculation valve" on cold jobs when not pumping. Many of the older, "more set in thier way" operators still insist on opening the "tank fill" instead of the "recirc valve" as that is the way they've always done it. I realize both ways will work but I'm thinking the smaller "recirc. valve" plumbing will allow for a little more head pressure, thus warming the water a bit more than the larger "tank fill" valve would. Any opinions?
    See if you can locate the recirc lines, check the size. Some of them are really too small, in my opinion, to do a good job, especially for keeping the pump from overheating in hot weather. This goes double for those of you who run single stage pumps. In winter you want to build a little heat, but you can still overheat the pump water if you're not careful. FireMech's advice is well taken. I like pulling the tank to pump open full, and opening the tank fill just enough to hear water moving.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Tank recirc lines are USUALLY small.We antifreeze our pumps starting in November thru April so unless you "wet"them,they're not going to freeze,period! If you do wet 'em,them circulate thru the tank fill cracked open about a quarter. T.C.

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    What, no fires between November and April? Either that or RV antifreeze is cheap there.

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    We don't be using any of that cheap a** NON toxic antifreeze here. Straight tree squeezin's for us(Methanol)."course we have fires between Nov and April,we just don't like frozen pumps so they get "liquored".I've been here forty plus years and the procedure was in place and practiced before I got here. Methanol isn't particularly cheap but compared to an "expanded" pump or lost property because you can't pump,it becomes quite economical. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    We don't be using any of that cheap a** NON toxic antifreeze here. Straight tree squeezin's for us(Methanol)."course we have fires between Nov and April,we just don't like frozen pumps so they get "liquored".I've been here forty plus years and the procedure was in place and practiced before I got here. Methanol isn't particularly cheap but compared to an "expanded" pump or lost property because you can't pump,it becomes quite economical. T.C.
    As in Zerone? Are you old enough to remember it?

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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    The old man still has a case of Texaco water pump grease.Does that answer your question? We've probably still got a case or two of Zerex/Zerone cans in stock.How about points and condensors in mason jars? Sam, do you REALLY want to go down this road? I was Born with a WRENCH in one hand and a wire rope in the other,hehe T.C.

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    Oh god. Why dont the two of you compare dentures while you're at it. How about your canes or walkers? Or who has the prettiest nurses in the Old Farts Home?

    "When I was a lad, we walked seven miles uphill to school! Through 2 feet of snow! With holes in our shoes! AND WE LIKED IT!"

    "When I was a lad, we got assigned one of them new-fangled gas-o-leene powered pumpers! We told the Far Cheef to stick up his ***, and like it! We ain't giving up our horses!"
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 01-25-2009 at 09:48 AM.
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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    CAREFUL pup or you'll get a whuppin' when dad gets home,hehe T.C.

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    CAREFUL pup or you'll get a whuppin' when dad gets home,hehe T.C.
    I'm about as scared of him as I am of you!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    The old man still has a case of Texaco water pump grease.Does that answer your question? We've probably still got a case or two of Zerex/Zerone cans in stock.How about points and condensors in mason jars? Sam, do you REALLY want to go down this road? I was Born with a WRENCH in one hand and a wire rope in the other,hehe T.C.
    I have an Alemite can of it, and I use it. Actually, that's wrong. It's really the stringy wheel bearing grease. Works great to seal up the ring on piston relief valves.

  13. #13
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    We pull the tank fill and tank to pump both half-way.

    We had a pump freeze once, but it wasn't our fault. We had a Mini-Pumper on a Ford F-550 Chassis. It went to the local Ford dealer for some warranty repair and we told them to park it inside, which they told us they would do. The next morning we had one of the porters calling us at the station to tell us one of the "plugs" came off and was on the other side of the parking lot. When the Chief got there he found the "plug"...... It was the 5" Butterfly valve that was on the intake of the pump panel. The pump was frozen solid. I will have to see if I can find the pictures........
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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    Talking

    I'm guessing that:

    A) None of your pumps have master drains

    OR

    B) Tank-to-pump or tank-fill valves leak

    If you drain the pump, it shouldn't be able to freeze if it has nothing in it.

    That said, I'm in East Texas not far from the Gulf Coast, where REALLY cold weather is in the upper teens, so what do I know?

  15. #15
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    Honestly, there is no such thing as a "dry" pump. There will always be water sitting in it somewhere.

    Here's something else to consider. Every time you take a warm pump out in the sub freezing temps, the pump will get very cold. If you don't use it, and return to the station, you will have condensation built up inside the pump. Make another run in a short amount of time, that moisture build up will now freeze up what it wants to, and give you a problem, you don't want, or expected.

    Our SOP/SOG is to run wet pumps. No matter what the call is, when they get on scene, they are to put the pumper in pump mode, full open on the tank to pump valve, and halfway on tank fill/recirculation. The only problems we have experienced with this system, is frozen/cracked drain valves once in a while. They are cheap, and take 15 minutes to change.

    Our winter temps can drop to -20F, with no wind.

    FM1

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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Simple guy,If your response was directed toward me,you'd be wrong and wrong.ALL pumps have master drains and tank to pump valves are rigorously maintained.Try this for size: At MINUS 30-40F windchill or higher(COMMON)a "dry"pump will freeze whatever water is in it QUICKER than a wet pump.A Frozen pump does NOT work well and is often expensive to repair.Our pumps DO NOT freeze,PERIOD!
    FM as far as condensation is concerned the alcohol takes care of that minor issue.Kinda like drygas in a car(same stuff). As I said,this is a procedure we've used for over half a century with no measurable ill effects to the pump.Not for everyone but it works well for us.

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    Not for nothing, but I'd like to point out that wind chill has no effect on inanimate objects. That is to say, they can get no colder than the actual temperature. Wind chill is a "felt" effect. Now wind does cause inanimate objects to cool faster as it carries the heat away. But a pump won't freeze if wind chill in 15 F but the air temperature is 34 F.

    More on topic our SOG's are exactly as FM1 details. Every pump gets turned on every run, year round. Our adherence to this has waxed and waned over the years, but to my knowledge we've never froze a pump. So at least I can agree with Simple Guys last sentence!
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 01-29-2009 at 06:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simpleguy68 View Post
    I'm guessing that:

    A) None of your pumps have master drains

    OR

    B) Tank-to-pump or tank-fill valves leak

    If you drain the pump, it shouldn't be able to freeze if it has nothing in it.

    That said, I'm in East Texas not far from the Gulf Coast, where REALLY cold weather is in the upper teens, so what do I know?
    Upper teens? In some places here in New England,like Rescue 101's slice of heaven on earth, that's a winter heat wave!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Adam,I know you're right.That's why a frt mount freezes quicker than a MM.So much for your chill factor.I really could care about if or why.On "juice"they DO NOT freeze.End of story.By the way,Cartman's still interested in stirring up some cuisine for you guys. It will give us an excuse to come see your bass akwards Engine.Hehe T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Adam,I know you're right.That's why a frt mount freezes quicker than a MM.So much for your chill factor.I really could care about if or why.
    Very correct a front mount will likely freeze faster in sub-32 temps, as I said, this is due to the speeding up of the cooling process by the air movement though, not the wind chill factor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    "juice"they DO NOT freeze.End of story.
    That's the way to ensure your pumps ready. Thinking ahead and planning for cold weather ops. I'm sure this winter will prove this method works in the harshest of conditions. Thank god we have the ocean to keep us warm over here, I got no interest in any cold weather than we've seen this winter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    By the way,Cartman's still interested in stirring up some cuisine for you guys. It will give us an excuse to come see your bass akwards Engine.Hehe T.C.
    Sounds like a plan, I'll look seeing when my crew works a Sat. or Sunday and we'll have Cartman "guest chef" (better make it Sunday, that's my cooking day!)

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