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Closed systems and the importance of water treatment
Closed circuit or closed loop water system is a pipework design that enables water to be circulated for either heating or cooling purposes in domestic, industrial or commercial premises.
Without an effective water treatment programme corrosion products, foulants and slime forming bacteria can build up in the system. The components of the system will become blocked or decay resulting in a reduction in heat transfer issues and a lot of expense.
Pre-commission cleaning of closed circuit pipework systems and the subsequent monitoring of water quality are essential in any building. The implications of getting these wrong can be catastrophic. The resulting problems include disruption to occupants whilst systems are re-cleaned or, in the worst cases, complete closure of buildings whilst entire systems are ripped out and replaced due to early failure.
Further problems may arise when existing pipework is altered or replaced within a section of a building, e.g. in a large office building split into smaller units. Once the contractor has completed any modification works in a unit, the system has been flushed and re-connected to the mains, water starts to circulate between the modified pipework and the existing. If the results of the sampling prior to re-connecting have picked up any bacteria, such as Pseudomonas, Nitrite Reducing Bacteria, Sulphate Reducing Bacteria or Iron Bacteria, this then may enter into the main pipework and pollute the whole pipework system. It is therefore very important to sample the water in the mains before and after any fit-out works to eliminate the risk of spreading and contaminating the whole circuit.
Commercial protection with water sampling during fit out works with contractors, particularly when integrating new or modified pipework back into existing systems
The water quality within commercial, public health and other large premises can be problematic to property owners, developers, contractors and all parties with responsibilities for the operation of the building and the longevity of pipework and plant.
Water conditions within closed systems are especially important and unless controlled can allow pipework and plant conditions to deteriorate - or operational problems can occur as a result of fouled water.
When properties change hands it can also lead to disputes over responsibility for the cause of contamination and the fees to eradicate it from affected systems.
Before purchasing a property, undertaking a Fit Out, taking on a new maintenance contract or altering pipework in closed systems (heating, chilled etc) it is advisable to have a full set of water samples taken in order to assess the water quality. On occasions, water sampling of open systems is also important. This allows timely and appropriate remediation in the event that it is necessary. Additionally this can allow new building owners to assess the risks associated with water systems before finalising on a purchase.
Newly installed closed systems, LTHW, MTHW, HTHW, Chilled Water and Condenser Water circuits should generally be pre-commission cleaned. The vast majority of these systems have small regulating valves, which readily become blocked with particulate matter and would then fail to operate. It is therefore very important to ensure the presence of acceptable water quality prior to putting the system into use. Debris that is present in a system as a result of the installation process needs to be removed.
BSRIA BG29-2012 'Pre-commission Cleaning of Pipework Systems' outlines the methodology for cleaning new systems. In addition this guidance outlines the responsibilities of designers and installing contractors.
We strongly recommend that pre-commission cleaning works are fully recorded and witnessed and that samples are taken to demonstrate cleanliness on completion. In addition we recommend that samples are taken at practical completion on a building site contract to demonstrate compliance with the specification for the new building.
Closed Systems Monitoring
In line with industry and British standards BS 8552 (2015) we carry out the water sampling, testing and monitoring of LTHW systems (Low Temperature Hot Water), Medium Hot Water systems, Condensers and Chilled Water systems. Various regular checks can be performed to ensure the on-going chemical protection of the installation is adequate and microbiological control is maintained.
We use state-of-the-art quality sampling analysis equipment to assure that your water system meets the necessary guidelines, and we can quickly identify and resolve any issues that could be causing water quality to drop below required standards. We have a network of independent UKAS accredited laboratories at our disposal which are utilised for a range of quality sampling analysis, ensuring we provide accurate and reliable results for all of our sampling analysis.
We are specialists in water treatment and can undertake a wide range of services in accordance with the latest Codes of Practice and specifications. Our range of services is comprehensive and can accommodate both new and existing systems, whether they are for major site installations or more localised systems. Please contact Comfort Services Group for an advice on water treatment and for your free, no obligation quote today.
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