1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    12

    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
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    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

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.
    Posts
    1,619

    Default

    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!

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    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.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    450

    Default

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

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    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.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.
    Posts
    1,619

    Default

    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?

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    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.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default

    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.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    CAREFUL pup or you'll get a whuppin' when dad gets home,hehe T.C.

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default

    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."

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.
    Posts
    1,619

    Default

    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    5,213

    Default

    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.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
    IACOJ

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    284

    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
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    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

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    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.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,862

    Default

    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.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!
    Posts
    13,584

    Default

    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

  19. #19
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    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.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,862

    Default

    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!)

  21. #21
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Westchester County. NY
    Posts
    12

    Default Tank to Pump Valve

    We have been teaching our guys to recirculate the water in the pumps for almost thirty years now. Since our fleet varies and we have found it easier to train people in one method ours is to open the tank to pump valve fully.

    Step two is to open the tank fill valve about 1/4 to 1/2.

    Step three is to raise the engine RPMs up to around 800. Because idling that big diesel in the cold weather is as bad for the engine as freezing is for the pump.

    We open the tank to pump valve fully because when, not if, the excrement hits the whirling blades forgetting to open the tank to pump valve all the way is a common mistake and it is far too easy out demand a half open valve and get your nozzle guys in trouble.

  22. #22
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    Sunday would work very well for us also.Can you find the grill or you wanna hold off a month or so? T.C.

  23. #23
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    FM1 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.
    Ouch. There is nothing like getting caught with your pants down. As well, not being in the know.

    I've never heard of adding alcohol to water, to keep it from freezing for the fire dept. until the previous posts. So with that, can you enlighten me on how it is done, and what exactly you are using to do this? And please, do be as specific as possible as for the brand you use, and how much per gallon.

    I'll take it as information, and not something our department should go to. As you said basically, "to each, their own".

    FM1

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pa Wilds
    Posts
    585

    Default Alcohol

    FireMech: This is a very OLD method used to prevent freezing. Prior to the invention of ethylene glycol, "wood alcohol" (methanol) was the preferred additive to the cooling system in cold weather. It generally follows the same curve as for glycol with a 50 - 50 solution preventing freezing down to wbout 40 below zero farenheit. Summertime it was necessary to remove the alcohol and replace it with plain water. The alcohol boiled off at 180 deg. F, so lots of radiators boiled over in warm weather.
    I have some reservations about this method. It might have been a good thing back when American LaFrance gear pumpers used leather seals on the bearing ends and shafts, but methanol tends to remove phenothalate (the plasticizer in plastics and some rubbers) Hardening of the seals in valves and pump packings is probably not a good thing. Hale might be particularly susceptible to problems since the blind end of the pump shaft depends upon applying pressure to the oil bath lubricating the outboard shaft bearing through a rubber diaphragm. Secondly, I would think that the solvent action of the methanol would have a tendency to wash off the lubricating qualities of the graphite in the conventional packing glands and increase the tendency to score the shaft under the packings. Even the more modern ceramic and carbon seal assemblys are probably susceptable to increased wear when a solvent is applied to the sliding surfaces. After all, why did we stop using "Penetro-wet" when all it was is a detergent that removed the lubricant in the packings.

  25. #25
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    FM1,It's a highly technical secret but since I like you,I'll tell you.Step one,drain the pump.Step two,go to the 55 gallon barrel of methanol and draw out a gallon in a water pitcher.Grab the suction adapter,2 1/2 male to 1.5 female bushed down to garden hose with a 12" piece of garden hose attached.Close up pump and drains.Screw adapter into 2.5 suction and open gate.Operate primer for about 30 seconds until alcohol disappears into the pump,Close suction and remove adapter.
    Kuhshise,don't know what to tell you.I've been here 41 years and the procedure was in place at least 10 years prior to my arrival.We don't have any more pump trouble than the next guy so apparently the dose is enough to prevent freezeups but not high enough to bother anything.I've got Hales in the fleet over 25 years old,never been touched except regular service.All I know is we operate in sometimes extreme cold,over extended travel distances and our pumps WORK on arrival.Our neighbors,who use the other two methods CAN NOT say the same. One other question,WHY would I want to use SLIMY old ethylene Glycol in my Fire pump?If I were to use anything besides clean burning Methanol it would be the relatively clean RV antifreeze.Regular antifreeze makes a wicked mess. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 02-01-2009 at 07:37 PM.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Pump Shift pump-to-road mistake
    By 2Chief in forum The Engineer
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 10-12-2008, 11:34 PM
  2. Mini pump vs full size pump
    By toddman in forum University of Extrication
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-23-2007, 10:07 AM
  3. Experience with ISI's freezing up in winter, or not?
    By enginegirl1 in forum Fireground Tactics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-26-2007, 07:20 AM
  4. Pump Ops
    By lilyogi in forum Illinois
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-16-2006, 09:19 AM
  5. Fighting Fire in Freezing Weather
    By TheFireDude1 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: 12-08-2001, 09:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register