Boiler Blog | Nationwide Boiler Inc.
Preventing Freeze Damage This Winter
It's that time of year again for our annual freeze protection reminders. As you know, winter can bring extremely cold weather conditions, especially in Canada, the Northeast, Midwest, and Upper Midwest. To reiterate what we have been saying for years, here are a few things to consider to protect your rental boiler and auxiliary equipment (deaerators, water softeners, etc.) from damage due to freezing temperatures this winter.
1. If you are renting a trailer or skid-mounted firetube or watertube boiler and installing the unit outdoors, these systems are completely exposed to the environment. User's should consider enclosing the front and/or the rear end of the boiler, or build a temporary enclosure around the entire system. An external heating source should also be used.
2. Install the proper heat tracing (steam or electric) and insulation on all main lines and piping components, regardless of whether the boiler (or auxiliary equipment) is in operation or sitting as stand-by. This should include the following lines:
- Sensing lines for all transmitters
- Primary and auxiliary low-water cut-offs
- Water column and connected piping
- Bottom blowdown and surface blow-off piping, depending on the length of the piping runs. These valves should also be left open.
3. During non-operational periods, drain all sensing lines and fill these lines with alcohol or a 50/50 water/glycol solution if possible and/or practical, making sure to re-connect each line.
4. When an extended downtime is expected, completely drain the boiler, deaerator, pumps, water softener, and all associated piping (NBI installs the drain valves on all of our equipment for this purpose), as well as all stagnant water lines.
5. If you are renting a trailer enclosed system or have enclosed system or have enclosed the rental boiler with a structure, please make sure there is an electric power supply to the system at all times, even if the unit is out of service and fully drained. The electric heaters in the trailer or structure require power, and if the rental boiler is needed it is considerably easier to bring a heated system to service.
6. When filling a system in cold weather, remember that water may freeze when it comes in contact with cold piping.
7. In extremely cold areas, you should consider adding electric heaters to the trailer-enclosed systems and inside temporary enclosures. Again, it is considerably easier to bring a system in to service in a heated area.
8. Be sure to remove snow and ice from the roof of the trailer or enclosure. The accumulation of snow or ice can lead to blocked vent lines.
9. If the boiler or auxiliary equipment is out of service, it is important to visually inspect the equipment on a routine basis to make sure all valving, piping, and sensing lines are sound and haven't frozen and split.
If you are renting equipment, you're most likely paying a fair amount of money for the equipment and you will want the equipment to be operational if and when needed. Take these steps and be assured that the system will be available if needed.