Essential knowledge in a deep freeze: How to shut off your water
February 2, 2011
The powerful winter storm that's just made a mess of just about everything in the eastern half of the United States has exposed a lot of places to extraordinarily cold temperatures, and one of the consequences is that places that usually don't have much to fear from frozen pipes suddenly do. That makes it essential that homeowners know how to shut off the main water supply to the house. Frozen pipes can burst (because water has that odd property that it expands when it freezes), and when they do, they can cause entire houses to flood. That's an especially large risk right now in places where insulation is more of an afterthought than the life-and-death matter it is here in the Upper Midwest, since a lot of places are getting exceptional cold and snow.
From time to time, we're asked if a particular pump can be put into service outdoors without an enclosure. Obviously, the answer depends upon the circumstances -- but the answer is usually "Well, it could...but you don't want it to." The low temperature in Chadron, Nebraska, yesterday was 27 degrees below zero. That's the air temperature alone. Add in the tiniest breeze, and that would have felt like -40.
The thing about operating pumps in these conditions is not so much that the machinery itself can't handle it -- but that the water being pumped at that temperature is so likely to freeze. (There are YouTube videos to this effect, showing how even boiling water can freeze nearly instantly at well-below-zero temperatures.) Thus the problem, more than anything else, is the water itself. Inside the suction and discharge piping, water will tend to freeze along the walls of the pipe first, changing the effective inside diameter of the pipe and quite possibly pushing the pump's performance right off the operating curve by dramatically changing the total dynamic head (TDH). The water can also freeze inside the pump and cause the pump casing or piping to crack (since water expands when it turns to ice).
All of this is logical enough from a physics view, but the human angle is just as important: Should the pump need maintenance of some sort, who wants to work in -27° weather -- or even can, for more than a few minutes? Pump station enclosures are highly cost-effective and can significantly improve the working environment while protecting valuable equipment. Since we ourselves sometimes have to work on pumps for maintenance and installation, we're strong believers in enclosing every pump.
How to remove the coverplate and wear plate from a Gorman-Rupp Super T Series pump
February 4, 2011
One of the main reasons why Gorman-Rupp pumps are so popular is that they are so easy to maintain. This factory video illustrates several of the thoughtful features designed into the Gorman-Rupp Super T Series pumps for wastewater. Cheap imitation pumps simply don't have the kinds of features built in by design to a Gorman-Rupp pump.
Golden Harvest has a well-deserved reputation for delivering the fastest turnaround time in the gate-manufacturing business. No other manufacturer delivers custom-manufactured gates for emergency orders and rush jobs faster than Golden Harvest, and here's proof:
This truck was loaded up on Friday afternoon to haul this huge set of water-control gates to a project designed by the US Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood controls for southwestern Iowa. The project needs to be finished in time for the spring flood season, so the Corps set a very ambitious project delivery timeline when the job was bid in December. Golden Harvest proceeded to deliver the fastest large order we've seen in decades of work with gates:
That's a complete project with more than two dozen gates (including sluice gates, flap gates, and mounting thimbles), delivered in less than seven weeks. All of the gates were custom-built to suit the order, and proudly made in the USA at Golden Harvest's manufacturing facility in Burlington, Washington.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has placed a very useful video on YouTube describing cross-connection problems in public water systems, particularly as they relate to the need for backflow prevention. It's a short primer, but well worth the viewing.
From time to time, customer feedback tells us that there's interest or demand for products that we don't happen to offer in our online store. We do our best to respond to those requests -- and sometimes, the best way to do that is to identify a source and to start supplying it. We're pleased to introduce our newest item: lagoon depth gauges, made of fiberglass and mounted with a protective clear gelcoat.
These depth gauges are available for convenient mounting on the sidewalls of lagoons (they can be used for level measurement in concrete tanks, as well) to determine the depth of the water.
NOAA has issued a spring flooding outlook saying that much of the Upper Midwest is under significant flooding risk -- including a 95% chance of major flooding along the Mississippi at St. Paul, Minnesota. The Mississippi River, flowing downstream from Minnesota, forms the full eastern border of Iowa, where it's also projected to have a very high probability of flooding. The James and Big Sioux Rivers in South Dakota are also likely to have major flooding, and both rivers feed into the Missouri River, which separates Iowa and Nebraska.