1. #1
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    Default Tank to Pump Always Open?

    Hey gang,
    I wanted to pick your experienced brains on something. In an effort to streamline the process of engaging pump and set up I was wondering about keeping my "tank to pump" and "pump to tank" valves always open.........of course running with a wet pump during the warmer season. By doing this, I'm thinking that I wont have to worry about circulating water and could do other things like chalking tires etc. Plus, if I'm pulled away for a moment by the chief or what ever.....I'm primed and ready to go. Can any of you think of a good reason why I might not want to do this?
    Advantage: Disadvantage: ???

    Thanks,
    Scottsfire

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    Default

    Obviously a bad idea in freezing temperature environments. If you are drafting water and leave the pump-to-tank open, you will overflow your booster tank and waste a lot of water. If you leave the tank-to-pump open and are drafting water, you could draw away from your "reserve" water supply unknowingly since there would likely be less resistance to the water coming direct into the pump from the tank than there would be through your draft hose. If you are using a pressurized supply and are not flowing water, you could also force water into the booster tank and again overflow it and waste water.

    At least that is what I could see as potential problems...
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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    Default Re: Tank to Pump Always Open?

    Originally posted by Scottsfire
    Can any of you think of a good reason why I might not want to do this?
    OK - how about these:

    1. Any leak, drain left open, etc. anywhere on the pump drains your entire booster tank. How fast depends on the nature of the problem.

    2. Any time you save in having to open them (which is probably inconsequential anyway) is offset by having to close them to do things like hook up hard suction. Otherwise, see #1.

    3. You'd be amazed at what you can find to hit with the extended T-handles (if you have them) as you drive down the road.

    4. If you're going to have a valve failure, wouldn't you rather have it fail closed? At least then you can still make limited use of the pump if you have to...otherwise, when your tank is empty, you're done.

    5. If you can only do this in warm weather, then your operators can't count on a standard "starting point" for their rig when they pull onto a scene. That's just asking for burnt up impellers sooner or later, if you ask me.

    6. They aren't designed for this. I don't know exactly what the danger is in this case, but - rule of thumb here - using things in the opposite way from the way in which they are intended to be used is usually a bad idea.

    Give me a while...I'll think of some more.

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    Cool

    I agree with bobsnyder. If you need to have the tank to pump valve open then you must have leaks that drain off the prime. If the primer is good it should not takie more than a couple of seconds to gain prime. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

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    we jsut leave 'em closed ......havent had a problem in 18 years. Also, doesnt take that long to open them. Top mount or side mount ?
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    4. If you're going to have a valve failure, wouldn't you rather have it fail closed? At least then you can still make limited use of the pump if you have to...otherwise, when your tank is empty, you're done.
    i agree with you that it is not a good idea to leave the valves open but just the other day i had my tank fill valve handle broke and we were the third in (water supply)luckily it was in the open position so i was actually able to keep my tank filled. i wasnt getting the full volume needed from my plug so i was having to use some tank water so it didnt hurt my like it could have.

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    We leave our tank to pump open and the pump to tank closed. Most modern engines have a check valve that allows water to travel from the tank to the pump but not from the pump back to the tank. This keeps the tank from overfilling. As far as freezing, it is less likely to freeze the 30 gal. or so of water in a wet pump than if you drain the pump, you can never drain all the water out. If you have valves or packing leaking so bad you cant leave the tank valve open, you may need to have engine fixed. Been with Dept. 29 yrs never had any problems with leaving it open.
    Last edited by hvfd507; 05-12-2005 at 04:18 AM.

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    Default Wet Pumps

    Well, to sound different from the normal, our County specs it's trucks with the tank to pump valve backwards! If the handle is in then the pump is wet. You must pull the handle out to close the valve. This works really well since we don't have as much trouble with the extended freeze problems others might.

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    Wow, alot of great feedback. I think the first post may have misunderstood me and thought I was talking "while pumping a fire scene" but I was more or less talking about going to a scene or running around town.
    In considering what you all have said........I think that I understand the nature of my inquiry a little better. Therefore, I will just be leaving them closed. If it aint broke don't fix it.......I like that.........and truly seems like leaving it open doesn't save me a hole lot of time in trying to justify it.
    Thanks again guys........this is a great forum!
    Scottsfire

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    In your 1st post, you said you could be "chalking" the tires. Is that so you know if the truck moved? I've seen meter maids 'chalk' tires, so they could give out tickets!
    Around here we chock our tires - uses wedges to block them so the truck cannot move.


    [I know, picky, picky, picky. But words do have meaning.]

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    Funny you bring that up. When I started with my current department in 83, everyone left the valves open. I just figured this was the way all departments did it.

    That is untill I left for another department, and they kept theirs closed. I asked why and most of the reasons listed above for not leaving them open were mentioned. So, from then on, I left them closed.

    Now that Im back at my first department (the second one closed )I find my self shutting the vavles every moring when I come on duty

    I really cant think of any reason to leave them open. What do you gain, 3 seconds? And sorry, if your affraid youll put the pump in gear and then get distracted and forget to crack a valve, then perhaps you shouldnt be the engineer.
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    Slueth your killing me man! If you read many of my post you will soon learn that I'm better with my math, driving and pumping skills, putting the wet stuff on the red stuff, computer hacking skills, knum-chuck skills, bow staff skills.....gosh! I have some great skills but spelling is not one of them. Next time I'll say puttin those metal dilly thingy wedges in front and behind the tier. (sp)!
    Pardon the Napoleon Dynamite usage.

    Scottsfire

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    What kin I say, I'mmmm hoked on fonics!

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    Ha! You and me both my friend.............

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    My Dept. leaves tank to pump full open and the tank fill about a third open. We do this all year round ( we have pump heaters in most of our apparatus.). If the truck is to be outside any length of time, the pump is put in gear and let it circulate. We have done it for the last 12 years that I know of and had no problems with freezing. Exercising the valves every couple of days helps keep the stuck valves to a minimum.

    It works for us, but may not be for everyone.
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    Originally posted by Sleuth
    What kin I say, I'mmmm hoked on fonics!
    Isnt it PHonics?
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    Dang it...............Phonics.......sure looks good to me...HA!

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    Default Phonics

    Phonics...isn't that a basketball team out in Seattle??

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    I was taught in my FAE class not leave them open. In most cases there isnít a danger and it doesnít make a difference. There are times it can affect operations, when the water erodes the valve. The valve could crack if the tank does freeze. By not working valve handles back and forth, they donít remain loose and become hard to operate. These problems mostly apply to older trucks with over 10 years of service on them. For new people learning to pump, they might forget about the valve since they donít pull it open on calls.

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    Talking As sure as eggs is eggs

    Whatever way you do it -if it is wrong you will only do it once.

    If your guys are in "there" and they ain't got water--look out.
    "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
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    scseshatech,
    Where are you in St. Louis? I was just out there, actually in Baldwin and toured one of the houses. You in that area or downtown. They have some neat ideas out your way.
    Scottsfire

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    We do it both ways. On the older vehicles they are in to close and on the newer ones they are in to open. We leave all valves pushed in, that way there is less chance of the handle getting ripped off. How's that for practicality.

    I prefer the ones that are left open, (mild climate) that way there is one less thing to do when putting the pump in service on a fire, also less chance of heating a packing or seal from no water (the pump can be run with no discharges for quite a while before the water starts to heat up) and less chance of a water hammer from introducing water suddenly to a dry pump.

    I do see small corrosion failures that would no doubt not occur if the pumps were left dry but the real solution to this problem is to install anodes in the pump.

    Birken

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