Sound advice for preparing your machinery for cold weather.

The good folks at Geo-Loop Inc., a leading geothermal and water well grouting equipment supplier, offer drilling contractors some sound advice to help in getting equipment ready for the cold weather ahead in most parts of the country.

Water Transfer Pumps

First, disconnect the 2-inch water suction line. Then open the petcock on the bottom of the pump housing, making sure water comes out and the petcock valve is not frozen. Next, open the ball valve to the grout-mixing tank half open – and the same with the rinse line valve. Note: A ball valve in the fully open or closed position will trap water in or behind the ball housing, and will freeze and break the valve housing. Then walk out the rubber hose to the rinse line, making sure all water has drained. The next time the pump is used, make sure the pump has water in the pump housing before running it to prevent shaft seal damage.

Piston Grout Pumps

After pumping adequate clean rinse water through the piston pump, run the piston pump for 5 seconds to 10 seconds at maximum speed to purge out all water that is possible. Note: Do not run the pump longer than this, or overheating of the piston rubbers can occur, causing damage to them. Disconnect the hose to the hose reel or grout line if equipped. Put approximately 5 gallons of approved antifreeze into the mixing tank. Pump this antifreeze through the 10-foot, 1-inch line back into the mixing tank. Make sure that both cylinders are pumping fluid. If pump only is pumping on one cylinder, the pump must be cleaned before proper winterizing can be done. Put the 1¼-inch ball valves in the half-open position to be sure wa-ter is not trapped behind the ball. Any trapped water will cause the housing to freeze and split the valve.

The Hose Reel

Unhook the hammer union at the hose reel to drain water, making sure that the hose from the grout pump to the hose reel is drained. If air is avail-able, you may choose to blow out the water with air. Another method is to walk all the grout hose off the reel. Walk it out slowly, making sure all the water is drained. A third method is to tie the end of the grout line back to one of the coils on the spool securely, and rotate the reel approxi-mately 8 rpm to 10 rpm – the hose will walk itself out on the reel. This will work by rotating the reel in either direction. One way will walk the wa-ter back to the inlet union, and the other way will walk the water out the end of the grout line. Make sure not to rotate the reel too fast, or it will not adequately drain all the water out of the grout line, causing it to freeze.