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Edmonton Valve & Fitting Blog

Weekly posts for northern and central Alberta engineers, plant operators, and buyers.

Winterization Webinar Will Help You Keep Your Cool

by Katie Dennis, on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 16:08 PM

Don't wait until there's a chill in the air to prep your company for freezing weather

winterization fluid systemWhen you are walking around outside in your t-shirt, it's hard to think about getting ready for winter. But if you wait until there's a chill in the air to get your company winterized, you will be too late. Low temperatures can mean ruptured tubing or other problems that will stop production. That means unwanted downtime, unplanned labour costs and other headaches.

"People understand they have to winterize, but most of the time it becomes a reactive procedure rather than proactive," says Tristian McCallion, local field service advisor for Edmonton Valve & Fitting. "People just sort of forget about it, then all of a sudden October hits and they say,  'Oh yes, we meant to do that.' But really, you should already have the work done by the time you start thinking about bringing your winter jacket out."

McCallion will make it easier to get ready by leading a three-part webinar in September on winterization best-practices. Starting on Thursday, September 13, he'll go over the basics of heat tracing systems to keep pipes from freezing. One week later, Part 2 will look at steam trap stations for tracing. The final installment on Sept. 27 will cover unit heaters.

Tracing is based on a simple principal: The amount of heat energy that needs to be added to process fluids must equal to the amount of heat energy that is being lost due to low surrounding temperatures. That can be accomplished in a couple of ways. Process valves and other components can be jacketed. That gives a large heat-transfer area, and they are relatively easy to install. But the installation costs are relatively high and the jacket makes it harder to see failure points.

One alternative is to use a bare tube attached to the line. They are easy to install and maintain, and they are reliable. What you sacrifice is the amount of heat transfer surface area.

In this first webinar session McCallion will cover material selection and design. For instance, condensate is drained from steam tracer systems by gravity. A good design will be free of low spots in the tracer run, and not wrap around the tubing.

McCallion also will cover system startups. Even with the best steam system design, starting it up improperly can create water hammer.

Steam systems need to trap any condensate. Most industrial plants have some type of steam traps, but they get caught in a dilemma: The technology is so reliable that companies don't think much about it. As older workers retire, they may not pass along their knowledge to younger workers. Then when a problem does arise, the staff is stumped. McCallion will cover some basics such as the best way to test steam traps.

The last session covers unit heaters. While they are simple devices, people sometimes have misconceptions about how to get the best performance from them. For instance, a higher temperature setting doesn't actually mean you'll get warmer, McCallion says. He'll explain how to maximize efficiency. He'll also go into their component parts, such as whether propeller fans or blower fans are better for a particular application.  (Blowers are generally quieter, by the way.)

While the webinars will be recorded and made available for later viewing, there's a big advantage in participating live. McCallion will leave time at the end of each webinar for questions. As he plans to take a very general approach, the Q&A session is the perfect time to ask about a particular application.

It's easy to register. Just click here.

Our calendar is marked for the last three Thursdays in September. We hope yours is too.

Topics:SteamEvents

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