Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    HFD, Virginia
    Posts
    7

    Post Draining pumps for cold weather operations.

    My department's policy is to drain all apparatus pumps when the temperature is going to be at, or below 20ºF. Just curious how your department handles this situation? Thanks!


  2. #2
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Post

    We drain them and put alcohol in them.No freezups down to -40f.T.C.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    HFD, Virginia
    Posts
    7

    Post

    Thanks for the reply 101! What type of alcohol? And how much? Alcohol mixed with water, or alcohol alone?

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

    Post

    Methyl?It's the kind you can't drink(Good thing).Nah you put it in straight it'll mix with whatever water didn't drain or that leaks in.We get ours in a 55 gal. drum.you might be able to use RV antifreeze in your neck of the woods.T.C.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    1

    Post

    I am just wondering why you guys put additives into your pumps to keep them from freezing, especially when you are only talking about 20F. Do you not have pump/panel heaters on your trucks? The temperature regularly hits zero here and we don't even usually drain the pumps unless the rig is going to be sitting idle outside for an extended periode of time. <br />Just curiouse, It's nice to learn what other depts. do.

  6. #6
    Forum Member raricciuti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228
    Posts
    105

    Post

    We just put them in pump whenever we're out in below freezing weather. Let the water circulate - it's hard to freeze up 500+ gallons. All of our present pumps are midship, right behind a very big and very warm engine which helps (cab forward design). We have two rear mount pumpers due next month, with tilt cab chassis - this may pose problems, since the engine is about as far removed from the pump as possible on these units. We're near Pittsburgh, so temps can drop to the single digits at times.
    R.A. Ricciuti
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    32

    Post

    Draining fire pumps is a BAD idea, especially in the Mid-Atlantic -- where it doesn't get that cold to begin with. What freezes easier...40 gallons of water in a "full" pump or the little bit of water that is left when you drain it? Let's face it, you will never drain the pump of every last ounce of water. This leads to frozen valves and potential delay in getting water back into the pump and on the fire.

    The simple solution is to leave the pump full and recirculate water when you are on an incident scene. Heck, you can keep the "Tank to Pump" and "Recirculating" levers pulled and never get out of the cab....just put the pump in gear.

    Just my opinion.
    "Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends."

  8. #8
    ksg
    ksg is offline
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    ohio
    Posts
    2

    Post

    My thoughts on draining a pump is that you should not. As long as you keep your outlets drained outside of the valve and you recirculate water through the tank, odds are you will not freeze up a pump. A question back: What effect does the additive you use have on the seals and valves?

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Akron,Ohio usa
    Posts
    14

    Post

    I also think it is a bad idea to drain the pump. I agree with Truck 15, it takes longer to freeze 500 gallons than small amounts of water leftover in the pump. My full time dept. doesn't drain the pump, my part time department does. Hope it helps you.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber jsdobson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    220

    Post

    Departments in my neck of the woods used to squirt antifreeze on our discharge valves until we discovered the antifreeze ate away at the plastic ball valves.

    As others have said, keep your pump "wet" and recirculate. Even with all this in place, be prepared for individual drain lines to freeze.

    It has been our experience that you really don't need to begin recirculating until you have been outside in zero degree temperatures for an hour or so. It's going to take awhile for your apparatus (pre-warmed to 70 degree from your apparatus bay) to begin to cool down enough for it to begin to freeze.

    One word of caution. Our mechanics recently informed me of a problem we have created while re-circulating our water.

    Our newest apparatus have a self-lubricating, mechanical seal on the front of the pump. This seal begins to be lubricated at 150 psi engine pressure. We had not been running the pressure up that high so we now have 6 pumps that will be overhauled this spring in preparation for our annual pump service tests.

    <img src="frown.gif" border="0">
    BE SAFE
    Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate

  11. #11
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Post

    Due to the fact of the size of our response area and the fact weather can get to -40f without the wind chill factor,we antifreeze our pumps.That way if a pump sits idle for a while it will be immediately usable.To the naysayers I will tell you we have been using this procedure for over fifty years with no detrimental effects I'm aware of. No, our trucks don't have pump heaters and yes they have frozen wet.If you don't want to dose your pumps,no problem but the system has worked well for us.T.C.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Elkhart, IN, USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    We do not drain ours and it gets cold here in northern Indiana. We recirculate, keeps everything warm that way. Even warmer now that we have single stage pumps. The water heats up alot more in these compaired to the two stage pumps. I can't even remember a cap freezing on any of the rigs. Consult with the manufacturer of the pump they can give you a recomendation.

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2

    Talking

    Hi. We are a small volunteer dept in Northern Ontario Canada. We drain the pumps on the pumper and the pump on a PTO pump for our 4000 gal tanker. We leave the drains open with a sign on each truck. Drains are closed before leaving hall. This way the lines do not freeze on the way to a call. Once on scene the pump on the pumper is engaged and recirculated untill needed. We regularily run -20 to - 30F (except for this year). We use windshiled washer anti-freeze on all valve connections. Before we started this procedure about 15 years ago, we sometimes froze the lines to the valves. These are mid-ship mounted pumps. Hope it helps.

  14. #14
    Forum Member LACAPT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    LA Can.
    Posts
    350

    Post

    Frank I know what you are talking about, we get the same miserable cold weather here in Alberta. We have all our pumps designed to drain properly and have cold weather packages installed ie. heaters, covers, rerouted exhausts, etc. All we do is open the drains on the pump and make sure all the port drains are open at least for 24 hrs. The trick to a lot of this is to make damn sure that your drain valves and tank valve shuts off 100%, no leakage, because no matter how well you drain them if they leak enroute to a long rural call your hooped. Nothing more frustrateing than sitting at burner and can't get the wet stuff on the hot stuff. Had a primer pump on a front mount freeze up once, had a 1000 gal on board but couldn't get a drop out until we stuck a 1000 watt lamp upside the primer pump for 5min. You know how long 5 min. is, its a freekin eternity <img src="eek.gif" border="0"> <img src="eek.gif" border="0">

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    37

    Post

    I agree about leaving the water in the pump. it will take a lot longer to freeze the pump with more water in it. than a little bit. we also carry turbo heaters in our trucks, in case the inevitable happens. also we can take them out in case we need them in rehab so they work a double feature.

  16. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    pa.
    Posts
    8

    Post

    I both way's are good , but if you are going to drain your pump's . Make sure your valve's are not leaking and after that,use compressed air and open all your drains and valves to get rid of the water.

  17. #17
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Post

    And if you alcohol the pump it doesn't matter if water leaks in (it mixes with alcohol)the primer won't freeze,you don't have to circulate the pump unless you use it,and eliminates a whole bunch of cold weather nasties that allow you to deal with the task at hand,managing your incident.Way too simple.T.C.

  18. #18
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Post

    Well tower,not to rain on your parade but we don't have cafs,although we do have the rest of the stuff you mentioned.Never had a problem of consequence with the dosed pumps,the antifreeze will actually work up into the gauge lines and they'll still work.Didn't say this program was for everyone but I can tell you from 33 yrs.front line experience this works for us,in the fifty or so years the Dept. has used the system THE ONLY TIME WE EVER HAD A PROBLEM was when a piece did not get antifreezed according to sop.In my career it has happened twice,NEVER on a dosed pump.Draw your own conclusions,but I'm a believer,the pumps WILL be antifreezed.I wouldn't imagine this to be much of an issue in the Southeast. <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0"> T.C.

  19. #19
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Madison,Ind/Fair Play Fire Co. No.1
    Posts
    15

    Post

    We usually drain when it gets under 20. We had a good 3 story fire last January. It was 12 that night. We landed on 3 plugs before we had one that was'nt frozen in the barrel. I laid duals about 600 feet. We had more problems with valves than with pumps that night. On our 69 Mack we froze the gages one night even with line heaters. Just had to replace all the gages on the pump panel. My hats off to the MEN in Canada. It gets real nasty up north. Been thru FT. francis inroute to Quetico.

  20. #20
    Forum Member LACAPT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    LA Can.
    Posts
    350

    Post

    7tuwer, it really doesn't matter if your lines to your gauges freeze up anyway, this won't hammper the operation of your pump. We have front mounts that we drain but you have to make sure you have an outlet above the pump open. This ensures that you don't have any water left in the lines. All our front mounts have heaters in them and Arctic covers on them that work real well. I don't lose any sleep if the gauges don't work when its cold, my only concern is getting water to the nozzle. We use the rule of thumb for water pressure in these circumstaces, if the entry team is standing at the door with thier thumbs pointed up then it means more pressure, if they come out the front door backwards hanging on for dear life, that means less pressure. <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

Posting Permissions

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