What to do to Minimise your Pumps Freezing this Winter

How you approach winterising your quarry pumps depends on the frequency and purpose of their use. However, inaction is likely to lead to problems at one point or another.

Freezing water can be incredibly powerful as it expands, putting undue pressure on the inside of pumps, pipes and valves which can easily crack or deform. Ice forming around impellers can cause pump seizure and motor overload, or pump vibration. And an inoperable dewatering pump when the thaw comes is snow joke!

As winter fast approaches, it is a good time to check your pump systems site-wide, especially those outside or in unheated enclosures. Your winter pump preparations will depend on if the pump will need to remain operational for most of the season, or if it can be turned off and dried out for the coldest months.

15 Winter Preparation Tips for Pumps

1. If the pumps will be off for a time, empty all pipelines of water if possible. Leave valves open to prevent them from freezing shut and to allow maximum air movement and drainage.

2. If your pump is fitted with a drain plug, use this to empty out water from the chamber.

3. Insulate your pumps and pipelines; wrap them in lagging or insulation.

4. If possible, situate the pumps inside an enclosure or pump room.

5. Fit your pumps with a heated jacket. Custom-made jackets are available from Atlantic Pumps, phone 0808 196 4597 for details.

6. If your pumps are inside an enclosure or room, install a heater with a frost protection thermostat setting. Please bear in mind however that this is costly in terms of energy usage.

7. For air powered pumps, ensure the air exhaust pipe discharges into a warmer environment.

8. For diesel pumps, check the oil level and consider changing it to a winter-temperature weight grade such as SAE10 (check recommendations in your pump’s user manual). Check the antifreeze and coolant too.

9. Keeping water moving slows its freezing, so if the pump can’t be drained during a prolonged or very cold snap, keep it going by recirculating the water if necessary.

10. Avoid water splashing onto surroundings, which is likely to build up ice quickly on cold surfaces.

11. Consider lowering submersible pumps into deeper (relatively warmer) water.

12. Check pump and pipes for splits and cracks before, and soon after restarting pumps.

13. Conversely, if pumps are to be left running during freezing periods, think about how you will monitor them. To prevent pump damage, they need to be turned off should ice build-up threaten to restrict inflow or pump rotation.

14. If pumps are to be used during or soon after freezing weather, be sure that they are free of ice and turning freely before starting. This may need isolating at the power source to over-ride float switches or other auto-starts.

15. If the water destination/use permits, add a suitable anti-freeze to the water just prior to turning the pump off. Mono Propylene Glycol / MPG is considered a non-toxic de-icer but check with the supplier that the grade is suitable for your application (pH stable, non-corrosive, food-grade depending on your situation). Glycerine mixed with water also makes a good anti-freeze (even though pure glycerine ‘freezes’ at 17 degrees!)

Hopefully, these tips will help you have a trouble-free winter. Don’t forget, Atlantic Pumps carry stocks of spare parts, Gromatex piping, heated jackets and can deliver built-up pumps fast. Keep our numbers to hand (WhatsApp 07537 149 180 or phone 0808 196 4597) should you need any help or advice.


diesel or electric dewatering pumps guide download


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