How Regular Valve Checkups Can Help Avoid Substantial Damage

How Regular Valve Checkups Can Help Avoid Substantial Damage

By Energy CIO Insights | Tuesday, September 24, 2019

After each season, valve maintenance costs shoot up due to damages that have occurred in the pipelines. The sole reason for extra expenses is the improper maintenance of the valves. By following several small practices, a considerable cost can be avoided. 

FREMONT, CA: The timely maintenance of valves is crucial for extending its life. By following proper measures and applying best practices, the quality of the valves can be maintained regardless of the season. To make sure the valves are healthy and working efficiently, it is necessary to conduct regular checkups. Factors like the compliance, in-line pH, conductivity, and redox reactions to measurement devices can be installed to monitor the process efficiency.

The introduction of simple methods and devices into the existing system can be carried out with a tee or a clamp saddle, depending on the piper size and class. For the existing measurement and monitoring processes, it is crucial to check if there is no corrosion in the pipes. If the software is up-to-date in case of plants and cross-checking if the valves are programmed correctly is vital as well. 

After the conduction of maintenance and inspection, if the results indicate a damaged valve or an outdated application, the plant managers should immediately reconsider replacement. The replacements may ensure safe working for the plant, but it also comes with a cost. To avoid the unnecessary spending on the replacement of valves, simple seasonal repairs of the valves will save a huge cost for the enterprise. Some of the common issues that can be avoided initially before escalation before each seasonal change are discussed below. 

Pre-Summer Maintenance:

1. Leakage vulnerability: When it comes to valves, leakage checks come first. The buildup on valve ends, or around the handles, are initial indicators of leaky valves. Removal of the valve for an in-depth inspection is the best way to check for leaks. The decay of seals can be the main cause for leaks in valves, and replacement should be considered in this case. The integrity of the valve is more if the number of seals is more in it offering protection against leaks. 

2. Process changes: Even slight changes in temperature, pressure or acidity from the original values are gradually occurring; the valve needs to be repaired. Small discrepancies in the values can effect a change in the integrity of the system and misplace stress on the parts of the valve.

3. Blockages: If frequent jamming in the valves occurs, the valves need to be checked for blockages due to sedimentation. The simplest method to address the issue is by placing sediment strainers into the pipeline. These filters come in meshes to avoid corrosion as well. 

Pre-Winter Maintenance: 

1. Annual winterization: Most issues are born after the ground frost, especially among valves that are buried. All valves should be drained from any fluid retained, and antifreeze needs to be filled in from stem extension to avoid freezing and thawing.

2. Winter lube: Use of a winter valve lubricant should be practiced to avoid freezing of valve joints. Winter lube helps the joints remain flexible even in sub-zero temperatures.

3. Hydraulic fluid: The use of high viscosity hydraulic fluids to oil the valve will help maintain the integrity of the valve material.

4. Pre-filters in wet gas applications: Moisture in natural gas areas can pose water carryover, contamination and freezing in the winters. By inserting the filters inside the gas pipelines, before the valves, the saturated water and other liquids from the gas pipeline are removed to prevent the injunction of contaminants into the system.

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