PDA

View Full Version : OT water treatment system and cold weather



darryl
11-02-2013, 03:27 PM
Someone will know the answer to this- we are facing the prospect of having Dads house unoccupied over winter, and we're worried about the pipes freezing, etc. This house has a water treatment system, and its own well. The power goes out there frequently, so keeping a minimum level of heat on could be problematic- otherwise we'd just drain all the water lines and keep the small room with the treatment system up to a reasonable temperature and leave it at that. However, the potential exists for the temperature to go down below freezing inside, and it could last for days at a time. The house is remote for all of us, otherwise we could just check on it as needed. It needs some repairs before it can be put on the market, so it will likely have to sit empty and unattended through this next cold season.

Question is- how to prevent damage to the water system should the temperature fall below freezing for whatever reason-

I realize I haven't provided much information on the system itself. I don't know what it actually is, but reverse osmosis has come up in conversation at times. I did not look at it last time I was there so I can't provide any more info at this time.

lakeside53
11-02-2013, 03:38 PM
If you can't keep the heat up then you'll need to drain (and blow out) all your lines. Open all taps to let air in and disconnect further back. Take your well of-line and drain/blow out your treatment system.

Alternatively, you can keep all your taps dripping somewhat to flow water though, but that can have limited effectiveness, and won't help in power outages.

jlevie
11-02-2013, 04:10 PM
In this case the only sane thing to do is to drain everything.

duckman
11-02-2013, 04:44 PM
Don't forget to put antifreeze (rv type) in all drains. The one place that people forget is the toilet tank, after shutting down and draining all pipes, go flush the toilet, and put antifreeze in the bowl. You will have to blow out the water lines, starting from the close est to the furthest, after blowing out the first leave it open then open the next then close the first, open the next and close the last one, repeat . After all this go back and check the toilet tanks for standing water, just add some anti freeze if there is water.

Duffy
11-02-2013, 07:08 PM
You will have to disconnect the treatment tank(s) and bring them into a heated location. I am assuming that at least one of them is an ion-exchange unit,(softener,) and if it freezes, the beads all crack and the unit THEN needs a replacement bed. These things are too expensive to either ignor or trust to luck.

Bob Fisher
11-02-2013, 09:56 PM
There is a radio show in the Detroit area,WJR 760 AM. The host has a favorite saying! "Water always wins". If it freezes it can split any pipe or vessel. Take all the precautions mentioned and more if you can. Bob.

ironmonger
11-03-2013, 09:06 AM
It's is difficult to drain everything. Over the years I did quite a bit of repairs to frozen systems.

A local heath department spent over 25K on labor and about 5K on parts repairing a building that was 'mothballed' because a budget shortfall of $4000 would not allow them to heat it... we told them if they run short on the heating budget just hire us to 'repair' it and we will pay for the fuel and charge them for 'the repairs'.

If you can find a local lawn sprinkler company or plumbing contractor with a large air compressor, why not hire them to bring blow out everything? This removes the water from all the lines, toilet fill valves, fixture valves and other nooks and cranny's in the water supply system, which unless you fill the water system with RV antifreeze will not be protected. It is impossible to drain shower mixers and the like completely. If you think air tools need a lot of air, then your compressor is too small for this.

+Duffy
Remove the tanks that you can't drain. I don't know what effect the RV antifreeze would have on the tanks. Either call the manufacturer or keep them warm.

You should contact your local water utility if you are on a city system to have the water meter removed as well. Check with them as well about blowing air into the service line and closing the curb stop and capping the branch piping in the house. Depending on your climate and the depth of the service you'd be surprised what can freeze. If you are on a well system, have the well guy lift the well pump to back-drain the supply line from the house to the well casing.

Get estimates for all this and make sure it's not cheaper to just set the heating system to 50 degrees and check it once a week. Another idea for monitoring if you cant stop in very often see:
http://www.protectedhome.com/cellular-phone-based-monitoring-systems-c-19-l-en.html

Whether you do it or you hire it done, physics doesn't care if you believe in it or not. It's gotta happen, just remember the old plumbers truism.

You can pay me now or pay me later... :>)

paul

Lu47Dan
11-03-2013, 09:47 AM
Darryl.
Two questions.

Is the water well head above or below ground.?
And how deep is the pump set?

If the pump is set on a pitless adapter than you can pull the pump to drain the house down, but you need to bypass the treatment system first, shut off the pump and drain the pressure in the sytem down to zero.

The weight of the pump and piping have to be taken into consideration also, If it is very deep then you will need help to pull the pump up.

Most pitless adapters have a 1" NPT thread in the top of the adapter to thread a piece of 1"BIP into. Measure down to the adapter and add 3' to that length, buy a piece of pipe, threaded one end, and weld a 12" piece of rod or pipe to the bald end to form a tee. The tee is to prevent the pipe from slipping through your hands if it slips.

Shut off the power to the pump.

Drain the system down by opening all the faucets in the house, sinks showers tubs. remove the hoses from the back of the washer also once the system is down to zero. Leave them open.

Put the treatment system into "Bypass".

Then pull the pump up, if you can pull the adapter to the top of the well and hang the adapter on the well pipe. If you can't have a pipe vise there to hang the pump from.

Leave the pump there until you are done with the draining operation.
If your water tank has a boiler drain on it, attach a washing machine hose , routed to a bucket to catch any water coming back to the tank.

Have a "pancake" style compressor with you.

Make a set of adapters to attach to the compression joints at the stops under the sinks and toilets and an adapter for the shower heads also. Take the connections apart and then attach the adapter and blow the lines back to the tank, highest to lowest in the house.

Once you have the water blown out of the system, you can start on the toilets and traps, use a shop vac to suck the water out of the toilet's tank and trap. Fill the trap with RV anti-freeze.

The sink traps can be sucked out or blown out and filled with RV antifreeze, or a piece of 1-1/4 or 1-1//2" PVC installed with a cap glued on the end installed and the trap left in the bowl.

The showers, tub and floor drains will have to be flushed with antifreeze if they are not accessible from below.

Once you have the piping drained , the traps drained and sealed, you can then remove the treatment system and store in a warm dry place.
Reset the pump and close up the well.
If it is a jet pump system then you have to drain it with a hose run to a drain or

I like to leave the system open, but most people want to be able to walk in and turn on the pump and have water in a few minutes.

I also like to disconnect the pump wiring in the well to prevent vandalism or accidental flooding of the house. I install wire nuts and tape on the wire from the house to prevent short circuiting.

Dan.