Preparing Your Plant for Cold Weather

Preparing Your Plant for Cold Weather

Are you prepared for the upcoming cold weather? It’s never too early to make sure that things are taken care of before an issue arrives and causes a problem.

Consider the following areas of your plant as you prepare for fall and winter weather.

Safety

Exit doors should always be in good working order and free from clutter. A good door seal minimizes heat loss and helps keep moisture inside the door from freezing. You should also keep employee walkways and driveways free of clutter and potential trip, slip and fall hazards. Using good-quality mats at entrances will help prevent the tracking of snow, water and debris into your facility.

Building Maintenance

Does you roof have any leaks in need of repair? Wet roofing insulation is a prime place for heat to escape from your building, and drips from roof leaks can create slippery floors and maintenance issues. Windows should also be not only in good condition, but shut tightly. Cracks or openings should be sealed.

Overall, is your facility insulation in good shape? Make sure that any loose, ripped and/or missing insulation is repaired prior to experiencing cold temperatures. You may also want to consider adding insulation to certain areas of your operation.

Facility Heating Systems

It is critical to perform routine checks on your heating system (including filter changes and functional operation) leading up to the cold weather months. If you use steam or hot water for heating, make sure that your pipes are in good working condition. This includes condensate or water return systems, and steam traps should be checked for failed closed- or stuck-open issues. Failed closed-traps will prevent heating and may freeze if temperatures get too low. Stuck-open traps can result in big energy losses. Additionally, ensure that heat tapes are in working order and prevent freezing.

Outside Piping

Make sure outside pipes are drained prior to cold weather conditions. Shipping dock sprinkler systems may contain antifreeze solution that needs to be checked for proper concentration to prevent freezing. You should also ensure that heat tapes are in working order and prevent freezing.

Out-Building Heating

Guard stations, well houses, machinery sheds, fire system risers, etc. are all part of out-building heat systems. Are they in working order? You’ll also want to check your portable heaters, permanently installed heaters, thermostats and power. All buildings should be sealed to reduce heat loss.

Outdoor Equipment Preparation

Is your outdoor equipment such as forklifts, vehicles and tractors ready for the cold? Preparation for these tools can include checking antifreeze, tire pressure and thread condition, batteries and brakes.

Electrical Outage Preparation

Part of a good winter weather plan involves ensuring that you know what to do if the power goes out. This can include having backup generators and portable non-electric heaters ready to go for when a problem arises.

Equipment Storage

If you have equipment stored outside or in an unheated building, you may want to consider moving things that are susceptible to freeze/thaw cycle damage. For example, moisture can form inside motors located outside, causing damage due to the freezing and thawing of moisture. Grease and oil can also break down due to temperature changes and ingress of contaminants.

 

All facilities may have unique issues to consider for winter weather preparation. Consider an updated ongoing process and checklist to help keep your facility in proper condition. Need help constructing a plan? Contact your local Kaman Representative for more information.

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Tim Tiebert

Tim Tiebert

Manager, Electrical Program at Kaman Industrial Technologies
Tim has been working in the automation and engineering field for over 30 years. He is highly knowledgeable in the areas of automation, industrial control, power transmission, electrical engineering and control systems design, among others.
Tim Tiebert

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