A critical component in protecting valuable equipment when the temperature dips down below freezing. As winter weather approaches, operators and plant management must remain vigilant in preventing freezing of their equipment. Frozen piping systems can result in ruptures and leaks that have devastating consequences, costly downtime, and unplanned outages. Steps should be taken to ensure equipment is not damaged during cold weather through use of:
Freeze Protection Valves: Freeze protection calves are installed on systems to drain or bleed water as temperatures approach freezing. Ice will still form on the inside of the system piping where these valves are used; However, they prevent the piping from rupturing.
Continuous Flow: Having flow through a piping system assists with preventing the process fluid from freezing. Situations where fluid is stagnant and exposed to extremely cold conditions should be avoided.
Insulation: Insulation is used to prevent freezing of various liquid piping systems by minimizing the heat transfer from the system to the environment. Insulation will not prevent freezing by itself but does make systems more efficient when used along with other forms of freeze protection.
Electric Heat Tracing Systems: Electric heat tracing systems consist of a heating cable fixed along the length of the system piping. The heating cables ensure that fluid contained within the piping never freezes, while also ensuring that the heating cable does not become hot enough to catch the insulation on fire.
Steam Heat Tracing Systems: Steam heat tracing systems usually consists of a piping system that is laid alongside piping and equipment inside insulation. Steam passes through the piping system and around the piping and equipment to warm the process fluid, keeping it in a liquid state during cold weather conditions. Steam Heat Tracing Systems are typically used for freeze protection on systems with very large piping or in very long runs.