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Winter is on the way

12 May 2014

Irrigation Winter Service

Preparation of pumping systems for extended periods of non-use over winter is important to preserving the system’s performance and life expectations.  Investing a short amount of time and following the procedures below will enhance the pumping system’s performance and longevity.

Pump Preparation

  • Disconnect power to pumping system before beginning any work.  Ensure that winterised pump cannot be accidentally energised and tape any exposed leads.
  • Remove exterior dirt and grime or any substance that may trap moisture.  Exposed metal is subject to oxidation, prime and repaint as necessary.
  • Ensure motor vent screens are clear of debris.
  • Flush suction and discharge lines. Check for leaks at this time and replace any worn gaskets.
  • Drain pump housing by opening an air bleed valve or port plug on top of the pump volute and remove the port plug closest to the bottom of the volute.
  • Flush pump with clean water to clear rust and debris that may have accumulated in the volute.
  • Precaution must be taken to ensure exposed tank/s (if applicable) and piping are also drained.  Piping should be drained below the freeze line.  A low pressure (5 psi) high-volume blower may be used to purge the system with air (A Wet/Dry Shop-Vac may also be used for system drainage).
  • If pump is to be stored wet, do not use antifreeze solutions other than propylene glycol.  Propylene glycol is non-toxic and will not damage plastic components that may be in the pump and/or pumping system. Use a 40% propylene glycol:60% water solution to protect the pump.
  • Lubricate bearings (refer to owner’s manual).
  • Keep unit clean and dry during storage period to guard against corrosion. Shelter pump from the elements when possible.
  • To avoid condensation and corrosion problems, do not wrap or seal pump with plastic. Air must be permitted to circulate around pump.
  • Rotate driver shaft periodically to prevent freeze up of internal components and to keep bearings coated with lubricant to prevent oxidation and corrosion.
  • If pump is packing-style, disassemble and hand pack cavity with grease, then reassemble. Units equipped with flush tap may be serviced with grease gun

Removal of pump from installation site

  • Place fittings (bolts, nuts, shims, wire nuts, pipe fittings etc.) in heavy gauge plastic bag and attach to pump. Remove pressure gauge from system (and other gauges if necessary) and store with pump.
  • Seal all open ports including conduit box, to keep out foreign objects such as insects, rodents, dust and dirt. Replace gasket in conduit box as necessary.
  • Remove all suction piping from water reservoir (if applicable) to prevent freeze damage.
  • If your pump operates with a variable speed drive (VSD) remove the pressure transducer from the pipework, these are worth more than $1,000.00 if they get frosted.
  • If your pump supplies a stock water system and needs to be left on, invest in a small oil column heater (or similar) to keep the pressure lines inside the shed from freezing.

Centre Pivot Preparation

  • Park the pivot in the same direction as the prevailing winter wind.
  • Turn off the main switch or circuit breaker. If your pivot is fitted with a removable three phase plug/socket un-plug it.
  • Disconnect and drain any small tubes around the control valve.