1. #1

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    Default To drain or not to drain?

    At my hometown dept. We were training one night. I was showing a new guy how to start the pump on the light rescue truck. It is just yours standard 20 hp motor and pump. When I looked down the pep **** was open that drains the pump. This startled me because I had never seen this done. With all the pumps on the farm that we run we never empty the pump of water unless we are winterizing. When I asked my chief what's up with his he replied that's the way we alleays do it . I know they are stuck in their ways but the other dept I am on we never drain the pump on the brush truck for the simple reason of you "almost always" have water in the pump when you start it and it catches prime I have compared the two pumps same size bight lenght from tank the one that is never shut always catches prime with out cloisng the exhaust the one that's allways OpenD has to be primed every time it also seems like there's more rust built up inside..... Any thoughts as to witch method is better for the longevity of the equipment ? Or see any foreseable problems

    Thanks
    stay safe

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    Default Draining pump

    I have not heard of draining a pump, except during the winter time.

    You may want to contact the manufacturer of the pump, to see if draining the pump year round would be a problem.

    Aside from winter time, it may be beneficial to have water in the pump, to prevent anyone from running it without water. If you have an untrained pump operator, they could run the pump and cavitate/scorch it without water.

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    Default Draining the Pump

    I see no reason to drain a fire pump, the dept I am a life member of is 20 miles south of the Canada border in Vermont, is does get very cold up there, if your station temp is kept at about 55 during the winter it will be fine, as for the gate valves, I found by using a biodegradable anti freeze sprayed onto the ball valves keeps them from freezing.

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    we don't drain here in ne ohio but we do have pump house heaters.

    do check the mfg's literature about it first.

    is the pump in a compartment?
    Originally Posted by madden01
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    we only do it here during the winter ............also he said pet ****.......and it got blocked !
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    Oh how I love Florida!

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    Only when we winterize...

    A dry pump is just *that* much harder to prime.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Why would you drain it, other because its winter or "We always do"?


    Its a petcoyk btw.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Default Pay Attention!

    Guys/Gals,

    I believe he's talking about a "Portable Pump". Correct me if I'm wrong. In any case, we always drain our portables. Hate to see one crack in a compartment in the middle of winter. Doesn't take long at all to prime them anyways if the lift isn't too high.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bud34k7 View Post
    I see no reason to drain a fire pump, the dept I am a life member of is 20 miles south of the Canada border in Vermont, is does get very cold up there, if your station temp is kept at about 55 during the winter it will be fine, as for the gate valves, I found by using a biodegradable anti freeze sprayed onto the ball valves keeps them from freezing.
    How are you doing on a good long MA run? We run DRY pumps AND antifreeze them. But we can be responding up to 30-40 miles at -40F. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 09-17-2010 at 08:58 PM.

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    Here we go again.... just in time for the upcoming winter.

    I can attest to running a wet pump for a MA run 30 miles away at -40F. But, I won't knock anybody for running a dry pump either, making that same run.

    As long as the operator knows his responsibilities as to running a wet or dry pump going to the scene, he should also be responsible for making sure it is good to go after he gets home, before making his next run.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    It may take a while for the pump to freeze, but the water in the pressure gauge lines, cooling lines, and such, will freeze in a matter of minutes.

    Personally, I can't imagine many reasons to drain a pump, that's in service, unless the temperature drops below 32F.

    Maybe you have really hard water in your area, or you're running brackish water in your booster tank. If that be the case I'd purchase a bronze bodied pump.
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    Quote Originally Posted by txgp17
    It may take a while for the pump to freeze, but the water in the pressure gauge lines, cooling lines, and such, will freeze in a matter of minutes.

    Personally, I can't imagine many reasons to drain a pump, that's in service, unless the temperature drops below 32F.
    I disagree. With having pump compartments with heaters built in and maybe belly pans, there has never been an issue of frozen lines to any gauge, being intake or discharge. The only problems I have encountered in below zero temps have been cracked drain valves or master discharge gauges being locked/stuck at 200-300psi. As well, a few individual (hose/line out) discharge gauges.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    I disagree. With having pump compartments with heaters built in and maybe belly pans, there has never been an issue of frozen lines to any gauge, being intake or discharge. The only problems I have encountered in below zero temps have been cracked drain valves or master discharge gauges being locked/stuck at 200-300psi. As well, a few individual (hose/line out) discharge gauges.

    FM1
    But IF you DON'T have heaters? Even with belly pans we've had pumps "catch" after a good hard run on a cold night. That's why as long as I've been here and even before they are ANTIFREEZED. Our neighbors might be froze up but we are prepared to go to work on arrival. One of our neighbors even carries a salamander on their first out pump. Wet pumps here are asking for trouble. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 09-23-2010 at 10:20 AM.

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    Cheez,
    Usually this subject doesn't come up until mid-November. Has it been colder than normal this year? Discussion goes on forever with about a 50% -50% split on running wet or dry pumps in the winter. I would still like to hear what the folks in places like Calgary, Edmonton, or Red Deer do in the winter time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    I disagree.
    *IF* you have heaters and/or belly pans, then yes, you're correct. In the absence of such features, these pumping accessories freeze very quickly. I've never seen a single truck in my state that has such cold weather features. So my experiences are limited to having no cold weather protection at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by txgp17 View Post
    *IF* you have heaters and/or belly pans, then yes, you're correct. In the absence of such features, these pumping accessories freeze very quickly. I've never seen a single truck in my state that has such cold weather features. So my experiences are limited to having no cold weather protection at all.
    NOT suposed to GET that cold in NC. Yeah,I know it CAN. From experience. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donethat
    I would still like to hear what the folks in places like Calgary, Edmonton, or Red Deer do in the winter time.
    I posted a year or two ago about the same thing you're asking from friends in Edmonton, Alaska, and Russia. All ran wet pumps year round.

    I'm not here to debate the apples/oranges thing with wet/dry pumps. If you run a wet pump during the winter (meaning temps well below freezing for days to weeks), I consider it mandatory that you have a pump heater. Belly pans are optional, and should not be used as a stand alone (we don't use them). They do have their place in some climates, but not in ours.

    I respect Tim and how he treats his equipment and knowledge. I don't have his experience running dry pumps.

    So, to make it clear, I have no issues if anyone prefers running a dry pump during the winter. I'm as neutral as possible concerning running wet/dry pumps.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    We've run Antifreezed pumps for over 50 years(Yah,before MY time). Three years ago on Christmas Eve we had a house fire in one of our MA towns,BIG fire,cold as hell(-10 ish with high winds). Put the fire out,went home. 6 the next morning heard the box drop for the SAME location. We are on the Structure box. Now, our neighbors run WET pumps. We are 7 miles from THEIR station and probably 15 from the scene. We arrived to find their Engine Ice crystals all thru it,plugged hose(ice)plugged Nozzle(ice) and a pump that wouldn't work(ice). 1st water on the fire was ours. This(MA) agency now routinely antifreezes their pumps. May not be right for everyone,but it works and we're going to keep using a system that has worked WELL for us for over half a century. T.C.

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    Fine..... We've ran wet pumps since the dinosaurs, and have never had a frozen pump. Happy now???

    FM1
    Last edited by FIREMECH1; 09-24-2010 at 02:41 AM.
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    Fine..... We've ran wet pumps since the dinosaurs, and have never had a frozen pump. Happy now???

    FM1
    HEY,they're YOUR pumps;do whatever works for you. I'm NOT going to run a WET pump here in the winter,heater or NO heater. If it works for you more power to ya. It DOESN'T here and our neighbors are slowly seeing OUR ways of doing things. T.C.

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    Northwest PA here.

    We run our trucks with a wet pump and our portable pumps with antifreeze / windshield washer fluid. When we are worried about the trucks on a prolonged mutual aide call, we will circulate the water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brentboe View Post
    At my hometown dept. We were training one night. I was showing a new guy how to start the pump on the light rescue truck. It is just yours standard 20 hp motor and pump. When I looked down the pep **** was open that drains the pump. This startled me because I had never seen this done. With all the pumps on the farm that we run we never empty the pump of water unless we are winterizing. When I asked my chief what's up with his he replied that's the way we alleays do it . I know they are stuck in their ways but the other dept I am on we never drain the pump on the brush truck for the simple reason of you "almost always" have water in the pump when you start it and it catches prime I have compared the two pumps same size bight lenght from tank the one that is never shut always catches prime with out cloisng the exhaust the one that's allways OpenD has to be primed every time it also seems like there's more rust built up inside..... Any thoughts as to witch method is better for the longevity of the equipment ? Or see any foreseable problems

    Thanks
    stay safe
    I learned a lesson years ago in Montana and Alaska;
    1. when you return to station pop the deck gun and pour in some tree friendly anti freeze.
    2. drill little holes 1/16 or less in your chrome caps, it keeps the ice from jaming the cap.

    They also carry a propane weed burner to break hose lose from the hydrant when the fire is over.

    JMO

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