Your Winterization Plan…Implement It Right Now
Now is the time to get your facility winterized before the long freeze sets in. If your mechanical systems have components susceptible to freezing, you should have a plan in place. Your business as well as the clients you serve cannot afford the downtime caused by damaged infrastructure or inoperability of its key components. When reliability is a must, follow these best practices:
1. Method of Procedure. If you don’t have one, you NEED one
- It is in the best interest of the facility engineer to have a Method of Procedure (MOP) written for staff to follow. The MOP is derived from a comprehensive review of all systems and devices needing attention prior to the winter season and gives a step by step approach to ensuring everything is in a suitable operating condition to prevent freezing, damage, and downtime. The MOP should be reviewed and updated frequently to eliminate the possibility of human error.
2. Conduct winterization routine BEFORE it freezes
- Perform winterization routine before freezing temperatures occur to allow time to address any deficiencies.
- All equipment and pipes that are prone to freezing need to be properly and completely drained while ensuring you are not impacting the operation of the equipment or systems in service. Have another staff member (who didn’t perform the work) do a check for verification.
- DESIGN NOTE: Consider the winterization process during initial design. Identify pipes that will be required to be pitched to drain or low points in the system that should have drain valves.
3. Heat Trace systems need to be present
- Where systems are required to operate year around, ensure proper heat trace systems are installed. Consider redundant systems on critical components. Have a means for remote monitoring at the BAS front end. This provides a good visual check and can be accomplished several ways. Testing, verification and ensuring proper setting of these alarm points is equally vital.
4. Lots of Communication: hold staff meetings so everything is covered
- Review which systems are to remain in operation year round that require regular checks to ensure freezing is not occurring
- Examples: DEC humidification systems, IDEC defrost mode for sump basins, Cooling Towers, exterior chilled water piping.
- Discuss lessons learned from previous years winterization routines
- Develop protocol in the event something does go wrong (ie: system isolation, notifications, emergency vendor contacts)
Winterization services SiTESPAN offers:
- Conduct thorough site investigation and verification of conditions
- Winterization Method of Procedure creation for mechanical systems
- Provide on-site support for winterization of the facility
- Recommend expectations in the vendors’ winterization maintenance