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Thread: Winter Pump Preventive Tips

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    Default Winter Pump Preventive Tips

    We are located in N.W. Iowa and winter tends to be cold!! We had a discussion about our pumpers the other night for winter time use. Some of the guys had thought in the past we had never keep the pump and discharges drained while sitting in the house. I thought in the past we always drained them after a run. We do use pump heaters. Looking for some tips and thoughts about winter time use.

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    We run a dry pump and drain everything after a run, we do this year round. We've never had an issue by doing it this way.

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    This topic always comes up for discussion this time of year, and if you will be operating your piece in a below-freezing environment, you have two options:

    -Keep it dry (almost impossible to do completely.....)

    -Or keep the water in it moving- pull up to a scene, throw it into pump gear and circulate pump/tank.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    The real problem you will encounter with short runs in cold weather will be lines and/or valves that are exposed to cold wind passing over the piping. It is possible to keep the main drain open when in the station, but you will need to set some kind of positive reminder in the drivers seat or door that will remind him to close the drains before leaving the station. Failing to close the drain prior to leaving on a run usually renders the pump unusable at the scene because the drain will be frozen open, thus preventing a prime.
    some engineers draw RV antifreeze into the pump to prevent freezing. This is accomplished by connecting a piece of plastic hose to an outlet, opening the valve and putting the hose into a jug of antifreeze and drawing the liquid into the pump by operating the primer.
    We have always run with dry pumps from about Oct. 15 until grass fire season in late March. This will ensure that piping doesn't freeze and risk splitting a valve or line by expanding ice. The nearest station to our East is 20 miles, and if sent directly to a scene to assist them could be as far as 40 miles. Even a belly pan on a pump house and a pump heater won't survive this long a run at 15 to 20 below zero. A secondary problem working in cold weather is frozen couplings, etc. Be sure to equip each engine with a small propane torch that can be used to warm couplings or connections on the rear of tankers melting ice and allowing connection of hose lines.
    WBFD25 likes this.

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    Just remember -unless your tank to pump valve is 100% tight, there will be some water in the pump (even with the drains open) We dont have super cold or long responces , so the full pump has enough "mass" to stay liquid untill we get on scene -- then it is always kicked in gear and water circulated. as a side note we keep a squirt bottle of deicer for lightly frozen couplings and an electric heat gun for tougher ones.
    ?

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    I have run engines in winter conditions in northern Canada since 1998. Drain the pump top to bottom. Take all your discharge caps and intake plugs off including your steamer ports and any rear intakes or discharges. Open "every" valve. Open the pump master drain. Let it all drain down until you are not getting anymore water dripping out. Then close all your valves, when replacing the caps and plugs have a spray bottle or two with RV Antifreeze in them and spray RV antifreeze into the discharges and intakes as well as on the threads of the caps and plugs. By spraying into the discharges and intakes some of the antifreeze will hopefully get to the valve itself to prevent freezing the valve inoperable if there is any residual water at the valve seat. Close the master drain on the pump and you should not have any problem, especially if you run heat pans and pump house heaters on your trucks.
    You may want to look at how well your pump house is sealed up too. Putting rubber gaskets around each discharge and intake will help retain heat in the pump house. You should also look at the gap between the pump house and body of the truck, if that gap is not sealed put a bulb seal gasket all the way around the pump house where it meets up with the body to keep heat in the pump house.
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    Thankfully, it never gets that cold here where I live that this would be an issue for us...but I am wondering if adding a quantity of anti-freeze to the water tank would help? Yes, would have to be a decent amount, but would it?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap't Disaster View Post
    I have run engines in winter conditions in northern Canada since 1998. Drain the pump top to bottom. Take all your discharge caps and intake plugs off including your steamer ports and any rear intakes or discharges. Open "every" valve. Open the pump master drain. Let it all drain down until you are not getting anymore water dripping out. Then close all your valves, when replacing the caps and plugs have a spray bottle or two with RV Antifreeze in them and spray RV antifreeze into the discharges and intakes as well as on the threads of the caps and plugs. By spraying into the discharges and intakes some of the antifreeze will hopefully get to the valve itself to prevent freezing the valve inoperable if there is any residual water at the valve seat. Close the master drain on the pump and you should not have any problem, especially if you run heat pans and pump house heaters on your trucks.
    You may want to look at how well your pump house is sealed up too. Putting rubber gaskets around each discharge and intake will help retain heat in the pump house. You should also look at the gap between the pump house and body of the truck, if that gap is not sealed put a bulb seal gasket all the way around the pump house where it meets up with the body to keep heat in the pump house.
    Thanks Cap't Every year this subject comes up about this time of year and I always ask what do our Canadian Brothers do? Thanks for filling us in.

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    If you have a heat pan (a metal enclosure installed to use the muffler heat to warm the pump) ensure it is on.

    Some dept's remove the heat pan for the summer. Also, the pan may be removed for pump and/or chassis maintenance and it is not put back on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF715MRFD View Post
    We run a dry pump and drain everything after a run, we do this year round. We've never had an issue by doing it this way.
    Thanks for the reply, always good to hear from a fellow Iowan. I had to look up Marble Rock to see where you were located.

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    [
    -Keep it dry (almost impossible to do completely.....)

    -Or keep the water in it moving- pull up to a scene, throw it into pump gear and circulate pump/tank.

    We try and do both, keep everything dry and then circulate water once on scene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSMV72 View Post
    Thanks for the reply, always good to hear from a fellow Iowan. I had to look up Marble Rock to see where you were located.
    Yeah, we're just a little speck on the map, unless you're from this area most people have no idea where we are. Sounds like we might get our first real taste of winter this weekend, stay safe out there!

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    I am from northern Vermont 20 miles south of the Canada border, we get as cold as you in fact our county Depts. all run a wet pump, we keep our station @ 55 deg. in the winter in my 35 yrs. in this Dept. not once did I ever have a problem with a frozen pump nor gate valves. As for couplings freezing I used to spray a non biogradeable antifreeze on them worked like a charm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF715MRFD View Post
    Yeah, we're just a little speck on the map, unless you're from this area most people have no idea where we are. Sounds like we might get our first real taste of winter this weekend, stay safe out there!
    No smaller than Breda!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    No smaller than Breda!
    Actually about 175 people smaller than Breda! All joking aside, I do think it's pretty cool that such a small town is home to an apparatus manufacturer that seems to just keep growing. Lots of Toyne apparatus around this area and hopefully it stays that way!

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