Winterisation is a summer task.
years have delivered unpredictable but generally cold winters that have caused extensive problems with pipe work, pumps, valves
and associated plant freezing. This not only creates significant down time in the treatment processes but also adds substantial
cost to effect the repairs required to get the site operational again. The winter of 2010/11 was exceptionally cold for an
extended period of time which exposed cold weather specifications in place at the time to be inadequate for the conditions
experienced, since then most water utilities have upgraded requirement specifications to ensure installations completed over
the last 18 months remain operational in the severest of weather.
2010/11 may turn out to be an exceptional winter,
however the two that have followed them have had periods or either very cold temperatures or prolonged periods of very low
temperatures which in turn causes problems. Insulation is a thermal barrier that slows down the rate of heat loss from the
item that is insulated to the atmosphere, but as a passive system over time the temperature of the insulated item
will equal that of the prevailing ambient temperature. Trace heating provides an active intervention to give everything
above freezing and flowing, however trace heating without insulation does not work.
Frequently plant is insulated
correctly when installed, but over time it gets removed for maintenance or damaged and is not replaced or repaired creating
conditions where moisture can get into the insulation or directly onto exposed plant resulting in frost damage almost as soon
as it becomes cold. Static contents and small diameter pipe work are the most at risk of freezing quickly if exposed. But
it is not just freezing that causes problems, sludge thickens in cold temperatures of +5°C causing strain on the
pumping systems that reduces the life of the pumps.
All of these issues can be resolved through a preventative
programme of reviewing the condition of your trace heating and insulation and correcting any defects or missing parts. Jade
Insulation provide site surveys to review the state of insulation and check the operation of trace heating systems highlighting
deficiencies that need to be corrected. This is a cost effective process as the cost of repairing/replacing insulation and
trace heating is usually far less that cost of repairing damaged pumps, valves and pipe work before counting the cost of the
For the best results keep in mind that "Winterisation is a summer task".