Winterization of Equipment
Gulf Coast Environmental Systems’ Aftermarket & Field Service team work year round to ensure our customer’s equipment is running at peak performance. Lack of regular maintenance and attention can be costly and dangerous, running the potential risk of fires, explosions, prolonged shutdowns, and regulatory fines.
As the weather begins to change, and temperatures begin to drop, there are a number of steps many facilities will need to take to prepare their equipment for the cold weather. Some of the risks of not properly winterizing equipment are:
- Instrumentation and equipment damage from water freezing and expanding
- Broken and ruptured pipes, caused from the sudden drop in temperature
- Delayed leaks, not found until the weather starts to warm, and the equipment defrosts
- Alteration in chemical processes, caused by freezing or condensation exposure
- Clogged process piping
In order to avoid potential damage and dangers caused by winter, it is recommended that equipment less than 5 years old receive Preventative Maintenance every 12 months, and equipment older than 5 years every 6 months. In addition to regular upkeep and maintenance, our team has put together a few easy steps to help protect your facility.
- Work closely with an expert equipment service provider to devise a winterization schedule and policy, which should become active at least 2 months before the first expected freeze. This plan should include:
- Identifying equipment or process piping that is exposed to the elements.
- Determine your best available option for insulation or heating.
- Assign winterization tasks to one team. This team should be properly trained in the use of the equipment, and associated risks.
- Have random audits of the winterization plan and associated equipment, to ensure it is working as designed.
- Have an emergency plan, in case of issues. Display this plan in several visible places in your facility. Include an emergency number.
- Any equipment or piping that is exposed to freezing temperatures should be insulated. You can also recover heat from your pollution control equipment to heat your facility, including surrounding equipment and piping.
- If your equipment is housed indoors, make sure that any doors, windows, and vents that open to the outside are properly insulated.
- Train your team on what to look for regarding issues. This includes reading meters, acceptable sounds and smells, alarms, etc.
- Consider installing “bypass piping.” This unused piping allows for a redirection of process flow, in the case of an emergency, power failure, break, unexpected change in process, etc…
- Have backup generators installed, in case of power loss. These generators should be checked regularly, to ensure they do not fail when needed.
- Schedule weekly meetings regarding any upcoming changes in weather, including major storms or changes in temperature. They may require extra precautions.
- Have an established service provider in place. Having a company on call that is familiar with your exact equipment, and your process, saves times (and money) when issues do arise.
- Have a shutdown plan in place. If a shutdown does occur, have equipment inspected before resuming operation.
As discussed above, the best way to avoid any issues during the winter is to make sure that your equipment receives regular maintenance. PME’s have many advantages including the following:
- Minimizes the chances of an unexpected system shutdown, which can often cost thousands, if not millions, of dollars in lost operating production.
- Significant operating expense savings through calibration of system settings, resulting in increased efficiency in the unit operation.
- Reduces the chance of regulatory compliance issues.
- Improves the life and uptime of the system and components.
- Reassures that your air pollution control and heat processing equipment is properly operating.
In addition to providing annual maintenance, repairs, upgrades & retrofits, media cleaning and changeouts, and emergency assistance, GCES’ team of engineers and field service experts are well-versed in winterization across a wide variety of applications and processes. If you would like to talk to our team about your facility’s winterization plans, contact us today at email@example.com or 832.476.9024