Winter is Coming – Use Freeze Protection Valves to Keep Lines Flowing

Freeze protection valves are effective in preventing freeze damage in process lines. Unlike steam or electric tracing, which require power and can cause water to overheat, freeze protection valves operate by simply draining or bleeding water as the temperature approaches freezing.

This prevents the formation of ice that can clog lines, shut off flow, and cause pressure within the line to build, cracking pipes, valves, and fittings, as well as dam- aging equipment. Damage due to ice formation can incur costs for replacement parts and labor, and reduce productivity due to shutdowns.

Nonetheless, freeze protection valves do not necessarily completely prevent the formation of ice. In some cases, ice may still form as a layer on the inside of a pipe. This actually acts as a good insulator, reducing further heat loss to the cold outside air. Also, if the ice does not completely block the pipe or equipment flow area, no damage will occur. Damage due to freezing is caused when a pipe or flow passage in equipment is completely blocked. Then, as additional ice forms, the expansion associated with the ice formation compresses the water and causes a dramatic increase in the internal pressure in the line. When the pressure exceeds the strength of the pipe or housing, these will break.

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