Freeze Protection Case Study: Bridge Over Frozen Waters

Ware Shoals, South Carolina, has been plagued in recent winters by expensive repairs caused by freezing pipes. One particular application, a two-inch line mounted on the Marion P. Carnell Bridge over the Saluta River, was especially troublesome. As a result, pipes were constantly being repaired, and water flow was interrupted to hydrants and a hydroelectric station.

The Opportunity

Eastern Industrial Supplies, Inc. had the solution. Jack Sullivan, Eastern’s senior product manager for steam products, recommended ThermOmegaTech freeze protection valves.

“Ware Shoals is my hometown,” said Mr. Sullivan. “Helping the city is much more than a business relationship. So, I was thrilled to introduce a technology to help them solve a problem. ThermOmegaTech freeze protection valves were the perfect answer to lower costs and improve city infrastructure operations.

The Installation of Freeze Protection Valves

freeze protection valve

Three HAT/FP valves were installed on the bridge to automate purging water from pipes before they could freeze.

The valves are set at 35°F to open reliably and without electricity or human interaction when water reaches a freezing point, which is critical to city operations and residents.

“We were very interested when Eastern Industrial Supplies suggested they have a solution, especially one made with stainless steel and didn’t require electricity or batteries,” said John Lake, owner of L&L Environmental, which manages maintenance operations for Ware Shoals.

“The water line on the Marion P. Carnell Bridge used to be compromised every time we had a cold snap,” said Jordan Gambrell, wastewater supervisor at L&L Environmental.

“The freeze protection valves held up, with no issues, the entire winter. When you are on call 365 days a year, it is reassuring to know I can sleep at night knowing those lines won’t blow when it gets cold,” he said.

The damage caused by freezing pipes isn’t just water under the bridge.

Eastern Industrial Supplies and L&L Environmental can use ThermOmegaTech freeze protection valves to ensure water reliably flows under a bridge to equipment critical to the city’s operations.

Watch the video

Download the Ware Shoals Freeze Protection Case Study here.

 

About ThermOmegaTech

ThermOmegaTech freeze protection valves have proven to be both reliable and versatile. When the company was founded in 1983, they were initially used to protect locomotive engines. The ability to protect equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars has given maintenance supervisors confidence to apply ThermOmegaTech freeze protection valves in several critical Industrial applications. For example, condensate returns, docks/ports, pumps, safety showers/eye wash stations, and water supply lines for livestock all benefit from thermostatic balancing valves. Contact us here.

About Eastern Industrial Supplies Inc.

Eastern Industrial Supplies, Inc., headquartered in Greenville, SC, opened in 1980 and has expanded into markets across NC, SC, FL, GA, TN, and AL. While Eastern specializes in the quality distribution of pipe, valves, fittings, commercial plumbing components, corrosion corrosion-resistant products, and engineered specialty items, the company’s primary goal is creating a caring culture where people are always more important than profits. Eastern is also a proud member of Affiliated Distributors and an owner-member of SupplyForce.

 

In the News: Freeze Protection Feature Highlighted in Plant Engineering Magazine

Maintaining water-bearing equipment in a facility can be tricky, especially in wintertime. Ensuring piping, safety showers, condensate systems, and pumps are kept from freezing conditions is challenging. When these systems are exposed to freezing temperatures, they become vulnerable to damage and water supply disruptions, which can cause hazardous working conditions.

Freeze protection is critical in applications such as:

  • piping, valves, and fittings
  • pumps
  • filtration systems
  • holding tanks
  • condensate systems
  • fire lines
  • freeze-sensitive equipment
  • backup protection on traced systems/equipment

A common misconception is that your system will continue functioning when water is at freezing temperatures as long as the water is ‘moving,’ which is untrue. Water expands and freezes at 32°F, regardless of flow rate, and pipes can burst.

Which Freeze Protection Works Best for Your Facility?

Factors to consider are the location of the machinery, temperature variations, the presence of outdoor or exposed sections, and the criticality of the water supply. Assessing your facility’s specific machinery and water systems is vital to determining the most appropriate freeze protection methods. Different areas of your facility may require different strategies or multiple approaches. The severity of the winter climate should also be considered.

Various ways to Protect Water Lines:

Pipe Insulation: Pipe insulation is a commonly used method to help protect pipes from freezing. It is done by wrapping the pipes with insulating material, such as foam or fiberglass, to provide a barrier against the cold. Insulation reduces heat transfer and helps maintain a more stable temperature within the pipes. This is good practice but is not always enough protection to prevent freezing in extreme weather conditions.

Electric Heat Tracing: This process installs electric heating cables along the length of the pipes. These cables generate heat that keeps the pipes warm, preventing freezing. This method can be costly and vulnerable to power outages.

Pipe Taping: Pipe taping involves wrapping the pipes with specially designed heat tape or heating cables, generating heat to keep them warm. It is suitable for smaller pipes or localized freezing areas.

Pipe-Heating Cable Systems: Pipe-heating cable systems require electricity to function and consist of versatile, self-regulating cables that automatically adjust their heat output based on the surrounding temperature. The cables are installed directly on the pipes and provide constant heat to alleviate freezing. In extremely cold conditions, pipe-heating cable systems could struggle to keep up with the demand for heat, especially if the system is not designed for extremely low temperatures.

Backup Generators: In the case of power outages, backup generators can provide additional protection for freeze-prone areas. They ensure that essential equipment, such as heat tracing systems or pipe-heating cables, continues functioning even during power failures.

Space Heaters: Heating the air around the pipes with space heaters can provide temporary freeze protection. This method is suitable for small, localized areas or temporary setups.

Manual Valves: These valves provide a means to control water flow in a piping system. They are manually operated, allowing users to open, close, or partially restrict the water flow.

Thermostatic Freeze Protection Valves: Freeze protection valves are specialized valves that prevent freezing in piping systems. These valves automatically open when the temperature drops below a certain set point, allowing a controlled water flow to prevent freezing. When the temperature rises, the valves close.

Low temperatures can turn worst-case scenarios into reality without adequate protection. Upholding diligent maintenance and awareness during cold weather can avert expensive and inconvenient repercussions from frozen pipes. Even heat-traced systems risk freezing in the event of an electric tracing malfunction.

Once freeze protection is in place, facility maintenance personnel have a better chance of working safely and protecting their equipment from freeze damage.

 

ThermOmegaTech Freeze Protection Valves

Freeze Protection has three (of many) applications: a condensate manifold, a float trap, and safety showers/eyewash stations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utilizing Temperature-sensing Freeze Protection

Manual valves are an easy solution for freeze protection to implement, but you introduce the risk of human error (forgetting to turn the valves on or off). Opting for a self-actuating, non-electric freeze protection method can offer superior protection for your water systems compared to other techniques.

Thermostatic freeze protection valves prevent water from freezing within pipes and systems by monitoring temperatures and adjusting flow. Utilizing thermal actuator technology, they sense the water or air temperature and will open to bleed off the cold water until it reaches a safe level. Because the valve functions without power, it is ideal for explosion-proof and remote areas.

Freeze protection valves are particularly useful in intermittent water flow or when power is not readily available for heat tracing systems. They are widely used in industrial settings such as oil refineries, chemical terminals, and processing facilities to forestall freezing within their systems.

Your Freeze Protection Solution

Water line thermostatic freeze protection HAT/FP valves from ThermOmegaTech use a specifically designed thermostatic wax actuator technology with an “install it and forget it” approach, simplifying freeze protection management.

ThermOmegaTech’s HAT/FP valve allows flow when the thermostatic actuator senses 35°F (1.7°C) and will remain open as long as the discharge water temperature is below 40°F (4.4°C). Installed in the standard flow direction, the actuator senses the ambient temperature and opens to initiate flow, then responds to water temperature.

Installed in the reverse flow direction, the wax actuator will always sense and respond to the water temperature to control the flow. Once the water temperature is above the freeze danger zone, the valve will modulate closed to conserve water.

The main benefit is cost savings; once installed, they require no additional power source and only activate when the water temperature is near freezing. Thermostatic freeze protection valves operate independently and reliably. They help prevent frozen piping with your facility’s systems and offer the convenience of a low-maintenance, long-lasting solution, protecting against freeze damage for all your applications.

“If systems are left unprotected, damage in piping can occur, so safeguarding your machinery with freeze protection valves offers a sense of security, knowing your systems are protected and won’t freeze due to unpredictable weather or a sudden cold snap,” explains Tim McCollum, ThermOmegaTech® OEM Sales Manager.

Questions on how to make your plant or facility safer? Contact ThermOmegaTech here.

Feature written by Marketing Coordinator Christine Tarlecki and it originally ran on March 24, 2024 on Plant Engineering. Read the full feature here.

Guide to Water Pipe Freeze Protection

Water pipe freeze protection is essential in industries such as food processing and manufacturing, chemical and petrochemical, oil and gas, construction, and agriculture to protect equipment during cold weather.

If water-bearing equipment is unprotected, freezing temperatures can cause burst piping, property damage, and water supply disruptions. A common misconception is that the system will continue functioning when water is at freezing temperatures as long as the water is ‘moving,’ which is untrue. Water expands and freezes at 32°F, regardless of flow rate, which can cause pipes to burst.

Water Pipe Freeze Protection - Frozen Pipes Image

The first step is to assess your facility’s water-bearing systems and determine the most suitable ways to protect water lines from freeze damage.

Some factors to consider are the machinery’s location and the water supply’s criticality.

Equipment that requires freeze protection includes:

  • Piping, valves, and fittings
  • Pumps
  • Filtration systems
  • Holding tanks
  • Condensate systems
  • Fire lines
  • Safety showers and eyewash stations
  • Solar collectors and piping
  • Water lines in farm equipment

It is also wise to have backup protection on heat-traced systems and equipment.

There are various ways to protect water lines from freeze damage. Pipe insulation, electric heat tracing, pipe taping, pipe-heating cable systems, backup generators, space heaters, and freeze protection valves.

What Are Freeze Protection Valves?

Freeze protection valves regulate water flow when the surrounding temperature drops to prevent water from freezing in pipes and systems. Valves typically fall into two categories – manual and automatic.

Manual valves require operators to manually adjust the valve open or closed to initiate or restrict water flow. These valves are an easy solution for freeze protection but have the risk of human error and forgetting to turn the valves on or off, which can cause severe damage or increased water usage.

Thermostatic valves are another option for protecting your systems. These valves are self-actuating and non-electric, preventing water from freezing within pipes and systems by monitoring temperatures and automatically adjusting flow.

How Does a Freeze Protection Valve Work?

Our HAT/FP thermostatic valves sense the water or air temperature and will open to bleed off the cold water until it reaches a safe level. The core technology in these valves is the thermostatic wax actuator. This actuator is sensitive to changes in temperature and can initiate actions based on temperature thresholds.

The valve is typically set to a specific temperature, often 35°F (1.6°C). When the thermostatic actuator senses the temperature is nearing this threshold, it initiates water flow to prevent freezing. Flow is maintained if the discharge water temperature remains below a certain level, typically 40°F (4.4°C).

By automatically initiating flow when temperatures approach the freezing point, the valves help maintain the integrity of the water system and ensure that water continues to flow without the risk of freezing. The valves will close to minimize water waste once the water temperature reaches safe levels.

Because the valve functions without power, it is ideal for explosion-proof and remote areas. They can protect your water systems more effectively than manual balancing and guard against human error.

The flexibility in flow orientation allows them to be adapted to various applications. The freeze protection valve is designed to provide a long service life, ensuring that it remains operational and reliable for an extended period. This longevity reduces maintenance and replacement requirements.

Protect Your Facility with ThermOmegaTech Freeze Protection Valves

Freeze protection valves

ThermOmegaTech’s water line freeze protection valves operate with a proprietary thermostatic wax actuator to protect your resupply lines against freezing. They operate independently to provide water pipe freeze protection and offer the convenience of a low-maintenance, long-lasting solution.

Stop asking yourself, How Do I Keep My Water Pipes from Freezing? The “install it and forget it” approach of the HAT/FP valve simplifies the management of freeze protection. Once the valve is installed, it requires minimal ongoing attention, making it user-friendly.

Another benefit is cost savings; it requires no additional power source and only activates when the water temperature is near freezing, significantly reducing water waste.

Start with ThermOmegaTech and protect your water-bearing systems.

Contact us here.