Thread: Tank to Pump

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    Default Tank to Pump

    Hi all. Quick question, is there any mechanical damage to leaving the tank to pump open at all times (ie. when sitting in quarters)? I know some often practice this so that when you get on scene you already have T-t-P open to charge the line while you secure your hydrant/water supply. Thanks for any help.

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    Does it really take that much longer for your pump operator to pull the lever once he is ready to pump?

    Our engines all have handles that pull straight out from the pump panel to control the tank to pump valve, and having it out all the time would provide lots of opportunities for the handle to get caught on things or accidentally stepped on when firefighters are climbing up and down from the top of the apparatus. I don't think you would have any possibility of damage to the pump but the lever is another thing.

    Also, if you are in a cold climate and you keep your pumps dry in the winter to prevent freezing, you wouldn't want to do this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyboyfire View Post
    Hi all. Quick question, is there any mechanical damage to leaving the tank to pump open at all times (ie. when sitting in quarters)? I know some often practice this so that when you get on scene you already have T-t-P open to charge the line while you secure your hydrant/water supply. Thanks for any help.
    It is, or used to be common practice in Philadelphia. I have also seen engines where the valve handles were set up so that "in" was the open position and you pulled it out to close it.

    During our recent cold and heavy snow spell when we were running numerous "wires" calls, I left ours open as well as cracking the tank fill. Since in most of those cases it's unnecessary for me to leave the cab, I'd just put the pump in gear and start circulating water.

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    the handle shouldn't extend out that far in comparison to the body of the truck if at all. shouldn't be a problem, never has been on our trucks.

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    Why on earth would you need the TTP open on arrival? Its not actually going to save any time and will only serve to make people lazy and complacent.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Why on earth would you need the TTP open on arrival? Its not actually going to save any time and will only serve to make people lazy and complacent.

    why on earth wouldn't we have it open? Can you articulate a factual reason or fact supported opinion on the benefits of having it closed? If an open tank to pump makes people "lazy and complacent" perhaps you need to spend more time studying the sources of the problem.

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    - Standard practice from end of the globe to another.

    - Open valve is asking for something to hit it, snag it, step on it, or otherwise break it.

    - Open valve collects crap and could prevent a good seal when closing it

    - When you get in a habit of assuming the valve is open, it is only a matter of time before you burn out pump packings or someone doesn't get water because the valve was closed and you assumed it was open. (Complacency)

    - You save ZERO time by doing this. There are no benefits. Why bother given all the cons.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Default Tank To Pump

    A few of the guys I work with used to open the pump to tank valve and crack the tank fill valve and leave them that way. We have the pump operators recirculate water in the cold weather and this made it easier for them. I side with the lazy and complacent part of the argument.

    One night responding to an alarm the engine in front me turning into driveway got the mid-ship running board rubbing up against/over a pile of snow, we get those in the northeast, could just have easily been a shrub, pile of trash, mail box, rock you get the idea. Well the snow pile hit the linkage for the pump master drain valve and opened it.

    Now with the pump to tank valve and the pump fill valve closed you lose the 5 to 7 gallons of water in the pump, BUT with them open………………… well.

    Valves are put there for a reason that valve should be closed, otherwise you might not have water when you need it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    - Standard practice from end of the globe to another.

    - Open valve is asking for something to hit it, snag it, step on it, or otherwise break it.

    - Open valve collects crap and could prevent a good seal when closing it

    - When you get in a habit of assuming the valve is open, it is only a matter of time before you burn out pump packings or someone doesn't get water because the valve was closed and you assumed it was open. (Complacency)

    - You save ZERO time by doing this. There are no benefits. Why bother given all the cons.

    1.)thats a pretty weak argument. there are a lot of things that are/were standard practice around the globe that aren't that great.

    2.) thats assuming its a pull out handle. not always the case. also get your people to not be a bunch of clods when climbing up and down from the top side of the truck.

    3.) the same could be said about a closed valve. no matter what position the valve can collect crap. it can be argued that its preferable to leave it open, because if anything you'd want it to become stuck/fail in an open position. furthermore, an open valve promotes water movement which would most likely reduce "crap" collection.

    4.) personnel issue. people become complacent because they are lazy, not because they leave valves open or closed. check your rig, pretty simple.

    5.) who said it was done to save time? I haven't been shown any cons, except 1 personnel anecdote of a fluke.

    I use it open. Why bother opening and closing it all the time? I look at it, make sure its open and move on. There are many other preset things on a fire truck. I wonder if you check all of them before use, since you love to through out the charge of laziness and complacency.
    Last edited by nameless; 02-16-2010 at 02:32 PM.

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    No, it will not cause any damage. It will just keep your pump wet. Make sure if you leave it open all the time you routinely clean any dirt off the valve handle rod and keep it greased. If you keep the valve open regularly, a piece of split loom or something to protect the rod from collecting road dirt is a good idea. Its a nice trick for in the winter when you want to circulate water (like CE11 says) without having to open both valves all the time. Its also nice when you are a 2 person company and don't want to waste time messing around to circulate your water on every EMS or bells run. As I type, ours is open with the tank fill cracked. I do not do this in the warmer months though.

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    we keep ours open all the time. they are set up so the in postion is open and the out position is closed.

    one of the advantages we have found is if the pump is leaking a small amount, it will prevent all of the water leaking out of the pump and having to prime it on arrival. this could be a problem for slower companies as then the tank would leak down. however for us it works.

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    Completely dry or completely wet. No half way conditions. We used to have three (3) trailer mounted "OCD" pumpers from WW II civil defense. Single stage Hale with a Chrysler industrial 6 cylinder flat head engine. When you removed the suction hose, 1/2 the pump case still had water. At the air / waterline a chemical & electrical action takes place that slowly eats the brass ultimately damaging the impeller and the bronze sleeve bearings. Here on the Allegheny Plateau where winter can sometimes see -20 to -35, we love dry pumps. Especially when your MA company may be 20 or more miles away. We regularly need to replace TTP & PTT valves due to freezing of water between the ball and seat. It does not matter if you have a dry or wet pump, just try making a 20 min run at 60 mph and -20 deg. F. Even with pump house heaters, you sometimes have to forget the tank water and start with hydrant water. Wind up the pump a little bit (1,000 rpm) for a few minutes to warm the pump case & valves. Then everything will start to work properly. If you get frozen intake caps or valves, and can get your tank water started, take a small line and drizzle the warm water from the pump over the cap and valve to loosen the ice fro the cap. take the cap off and use the rubber mallet to break out the chunks. Once you are able to crack the valve, you will be able to thaw it out with moving water.
    The intake screens on most pumps provide the cathodic protection for the pump when filled with water. You should periodically replace these screens to keep them from corroding to the point where pieces get sucked through or into impellers.
    Last edited by KuhShise; 02-16-2010 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Added cathodic protection note.

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    we leave our closed ...............
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
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    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
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    When I was assigned as Engine Company Chauffeur (when I was being disciplined and sent to the engine company as a punishment) I would always run with the T 2 P open. When the weather went below freezing, per Dept SOP T 2 P was closed, and pump fully drained.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I'm with nameless on this. Every one of our companies that I've ever worked on leave tank-to-pump open all the time, all times of the year, and usually the tank fill in the winter. So that's (until recently) 26 pumps running 25k calls a year or so, and no incidents with the valve that anyone can remember, at least for the last 2 or 3 decades. Must have something to do with the fact that we don't climb the pump panels.

    I'm all for getting all fired up and pounding on the table, but can't we do it about an actual problem, instead of an invented one?
    The opinions expressed in this post are well-reasoned and insightful. Needless to say, they are not the opinions of the government that I work for.

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    [QUOTE=nmfire;1147118]- Standard practice from end of the globe to another.

    Obviously not, I can say for certain that Boston Fire keeps their TTP always open.

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    Cool Tank to Pump Valve

    When I was an Engineer I kept mine close. As a Captain, I have my Engineer's keep it closed due to the chance of catching it on something and also deforming the handle/lever from road vibrations and body pitching. They are not designed or manufactured to be kept open and will eventually warp, weaken and break. If that is how your Department wants to do it then I would suggest when you spec-out your Units then ask the Manufacturer to install the ball valves backwards that way the handles are in and the Tank to Pump Valve is open and closed when you pull it out. That's just a thought though.....

    Hey, if it's your Departments culture then so be it but try and follow your Manufactures' recommendations since that's how they've designed it. Trust me, they've devoted millions of dollars on researching this type of stuff.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

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    Our department policy is to have the pump "staged" with the tank to pump fully open and the tank fill 1/4 to 1/2 open. We do this year around. Our operators are taught to engage the pump when on scene, especially in cold weather, and if they get side tracked for what ever reason we don't hurt the pump.

    All valves get worked at least weekly during maintenance. Majority of engines are top mount. On the side mounts the lever does not stick out past the body of the apparatus. We have to replace tank to pump or tank fill valves at the same rate as other valves on the trucks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyboy
    When I was an Engineer I kept mine close. As a Captain, I have my Engineer's keep it closed due to the chance of catching it on something and also deforming the handle/lever from road vibrations and body pitching. They are not designed or manufactured to be kept open and will eventually warp, weaken and break.
    I'd like to see in "black and white" where they are not designed/manufactured to stay in the open position. We've kept the T2P valves open for decades, and have never seen a warped, weakened, or broken linkage from keeping it open. If anything, the guide will better support an open valve, than the valve being closed, to just hang there. As well, no handle open extends past the body line, and is very close to the first compartment door. Never snagged a thing to date.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyboy
    Hey, if it's your Departments culture then so be it but try and follow your Manufactures' recommendations since that's how they've designed it. Trust me, they've devoted millions of dollars on researching this type of stuff.
    I'd really like to see where any manufacturer spent anywhere from $10 to a million dollars on whether the valve should be kept open or closed. Much less, their recommendation on such either way.

    As for open or closed it doesn't really matter as long as the seals are doing their job, and your working them weekly, and using Ivory soap once a month to help lube and protect the seals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    why on earth wouldn't we have it open? Can you articulate a factual reason or fact supported opinion on the benefits of having it closed? If an open tank to pump makes people "lazy and complacent" perhaps you need to spend more time studying the sources of the problem.
    ONLY ONE! Since temps here can go -20 PLUS we run DRY pumps in the winter. An OPEN TTP kinda defeats that practice.How long does it take to open a valve? T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 02-18-2010 at 10:48 AM.

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    Question

    I’d like to hear from some departments like Minneapolis, Fargo, or Winnipeg. Gets pretty cold there in the winter. What do they do?

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    Cool From Hale's Website.....

    Originally posted by FIREMECH1:
    I'd like to see in "black and white" where they are not designed/manufactured to stay in the open position. We've kept the T2P valves open for decades, and have never seen a warped, weakened, or broken linkage from keeping it open. If anything, the guide will better support an open valve, than the valve being closed, to just hang there.
    This is directly from Hale Pumps' Website.....

    [QUOTE]ALL VALVES, DRAIN-****S, AND CAPS
    SHOULD BE CLOSED.


    9. Open the tank suction valve.

    During Freezing Weather
    In freezing weather, drain the pump as follows:
    1. Open all discharge and suction valves, remove
    suction tube caps, and discharge valve caps.
    2. Open pump body drain ****s and/or Hale
    multiple drain valve.
    3. On two-stage pumps, move the transfer valve
    back and forth to both the volume and the
    pressure positions.
    4. After the pump is completely drained, replace
    all caps and close all valves.[/
    QUOTE]

    I read through the Pump Manual and read nothing about using Ivory Soap as a lubrication. We used to put Dove, Ivory or Palmolive in the Tank (a cheap Class A Foam and Tank Conditioner) but got away from that practice since nothing in the Pump Manual supported this.

    I respect that you're a Mechanic, but my suggestion is to do what the Manufacturer recommends. Seems to me that it's pretty cut and dry here.

    Originally posted by FIREMECH1:
    As well, no handle open extends past the body line, and is very close to the first compartment door. Never snagged a thing to date.
    You are probably not operating your Engines in "Urban Interface" as often as we are. In So. California we are often operating where the houses are tucked away in the trees and there is barely enough space to get a regular sized car through. I have personally seen valves handles get bent and tweaked from tree limbs and such. If you're not operating in this type of area and it works for you, then like I typed earlier, it's the culture of your Department then so be it.....
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

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    Default Open Valves Makes it Simple

    We have spec'd our units to have the Tank to Pump valve open in the IN position for the last 50 years with out problem. The basis of our decision was that most of our operations start with tank water and this change in valve handle configuration removed a potential mistake. ( I think someone screwed up badly on a call to start the discussion) In addition, since the pump is full, we do not have to hit the primer - the pump is ready to go. Just increase throttle and open line and water is moving.

    For positive pressure sources the check valve will keep the tank shut automatically. We routinely close the valve in this case to avoid intermittant loss from the tank if the incomming pressure gets too low to assure there is water in case of a total loss of the supply line so we can get the interior guys out.

    So the only time we really have to pull a valve is when we draft - about 2-4 times a year on calls

    The downside is a the potential for a BIG puddle under teh truck. If there are maintences issues with the packing or leaking valves this can be a problem since you can drain a significant amount of water between calls.

    We are located in the Philly suburbs (near CE 11) so freezing is not a problem during the drive to the call.


    Mike

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    Cool

    Originally posted by Squirt1262:
    We have spec'd our units to have the Tank to Pump valve open in the IN position for the last 50 years with out problem. The basis of our decision was that most of our operations start with tank water and this change in valve handle configuration removed a potential mistake. ( I think someone screwed up badly on a call to start the discussion) In addition, since the pump is full, we do not have to hit the primer - the pump is ready to go. Just increase throttle and open line and water is moving.

    For positive pressure sources the check valve will keep the tank shut automatically. We routinely close the valve in this case to avoid intermittant loss from the tank if the incomming pressure gets too low to assure there is water in case of a total loss of the supply line so we can get the interior guys out.
    Good going, I can see the common sense behind this. Just like I typed earlier, if you wanna keep the valve open just spec the Unit that way.....
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    ONLY ONE! Since temps here can go -20 PLUS we run DRY pumps in the winter. An OPEN TTP kinda defeats that practice.How long does it take to open a valve? T.C.

    thats great your dept. does that, but like I said, "why would we", my dept. we run wet pumps. How long does it take to open the valve is irrelevant if it isnt done to save time.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyboy View Post

    You are probably not operating your Engines in "Urban Interface" as often as we are. In So. California we are often operating where the houses are tucked away in the trees and there is barely enough space to get a regular sized car through. I have personally seen valves handles get bent and tweaked from tree limbs and such. If you're not operating in this type of area and it works for you, then like I typed earlier, it's the culture of your Department then so be it.....
    except for the condescending attitude, thats a nice thought. Not sure how you can tell the "culture of your department" from the position of a valve on the pump panel, but I've seen stranger things.
    Last edited by nameless; 02-18-2010 at 02:33 PM.

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