How to get your commercial water systems ready for winter

Temperature drops in winter can have a significant impact on the performance of your commercial water systems and, worse, could lead to split valves, disastrous leaks, and huge scale disruption.

Thankfully, a little bit of early planning is all you need to combat the big freeze. Read on to learn about simple water treatment methods and jobs you can use to keep your water systems and pipework protected this winter.

Servicing and dosing your chilled water systems

Your chilled water systems need to be serviced, regularly checked, and potentially treated with glycol. Glycol doesn’t dissipate as quickly as organic compounds like inhibitors, but it’s crucial that you have the correct levels and keep it topped up. With the appropriate dose, you can avoid frozen pipes, split valves, and an underperforming system this winter and any down-time.

We can also help you choose the right type of glycol for your system. While mono ethylene is most cost-effective, Comfort Coolflow includes corrosion inhibitors and biocides for extra peace of mind. The right solution for you will depend on things like:

  • Whether you have trace heating (and its condition)
  • Compatibility with previously-used chemicals in your system
  • Your percentage of external pipework

We’ll guide you through your options, and can then attend on-site regularly to check glycol levels.

Cooling tower chlorination and drain down

Your cooling tower costs money to maintain and run. For the winter months when your air conditioning isn’t being used, this becomes a needless expense.

Over the colder season, you can drain your tower to reduce running costs – but it’s important to consider the implications on water hygiene. If you empty your cooling tower, chlorination is an effective way to control the growth of bacteria until you’re ready to get your system up-and-running again.

Using trace heating on your pipework

Beyond your basic insulation, trace heating can elevate the overall temperature of a pipe and the water that runs through it. This is a crucial step in eliminating frozen pipework which can take your system out of action and cause irreversible damage.

It’s also important to get an appropriate level of heating – not too little, not too much. Raising temperatures too high can begin to heat water above its normal running temperature, increasing your risk of bacteria growth. Some trace heating includes thermostats in order to keep temperatures carefully controlled.

We have had situations where the bms system, frost protection or trace heating has failed and not been maintained correctly, which has resulted in split air handling unit coils. We had a project which had six of these one night alone, this caused the client to shut the building down resulting in logistical issues and loss of revenue.

Remember your tank cleaning and disinfection

With your pipework prepared for the cold weather, remember that water treatment is just one part of your maintenance. Often, we see organisations reducing their efforts in tank cleaning, disinfection, and legionella control because their seasonal priorities have shifted.

While harmful bacteria like legionella thrive in warmer temperatures, the typical UK winter isn’t cold enough to make your water system completely inhospitable.

At Comfort Services Group, we provide a complete range of water treatment and water hygiene services designed to cover every aspect of your system, whatever the season.