Although its endurance depends on specific applications, we all want our valves to last us at least two years. However, most of them wear out in about a year or so, making replacement inevitable. And when you’re replacing a valve, you’ve got to replace all of them.
Although there is a wide variety of valves out there today that requires specific maintenance, here are some easy and general tips you can follow to maintain yours.
Things To Consider Before Maintaining Steel Valves
Before you can begin maintaining valves yourself, make sure you know all that you can about the way your valve system works. Ask yourself:
- What type of valves do I have
- What is the chemical constitution of the valves that I have to keep in mind during operation and maintenance?
- Can these valves survive high temperatures and pressures?
- What are the physical properties of the valve as specified by its manufacturer?
- What chemicals or combination of chemicals is harmful to this system?
5 Tips For Maintaining Steel Valves
Tip #1: Cleaning
Running the valves through boiling water will get rid of grease, dirt and kill any bacteria lodged.
The valves are constantly interacting with oil, gas, liquid, or slurry. It is crucial to keep the valves clean, especially if you are processing food to be consumed by other people.
With constant use, dirt particles and debris may get caught in the nooks and crannies of the valve. These contaminants may prevent the smooth functioning and transportation of fluid and slow down processes or harm the pipes.
Some Do-It-Yourself guides recommend cleaning valves with detergent soap and water, white vinegar and baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals work well for steel valves.
The DIY guides claim that such combinations work better than heavily advertised commercial cleaners. Ensure that you research if these chemical combinations are safe to use on your valves if the valves are composed of other metal alloys.
Tip #2: Prevent Corrosion
If your valves are of stainless steel from a reputed stainless steel valve company, you do not have to worry about corrosion.
One of the most important things to prevent is the corrosion of metal. Most metals are prone to it; make sure you take appropriate preventative steps to control and limit this deterioration.
When the valves’ iron particles are exposed to moisture, creating an acidic environment, the steel can become rusty.
Steel corrodes quickly in acidic environments, but stainless steel, with its top layer of oxide, is corrosion resistant.
Many manufacturers and producers prefer to keep spare valves in case of contingencies or unexpected valve failures.
Make sure to store these valves in areas away from the weather, dust, and moisture. Keep these valves protected in a secure covering to guard against dust and microbes.
In the valve world, leaking is a seemingly inevitable consequence of continuous use. one of the easiest ways to spot a leak is to search for areas of rust or corrosion. Inspect your valves and, if any, determine the root causes of the leak before repairing it.
Note that the valves are not always the culprit in leakages. Inspect the pipes, flaps, connectors, and other components of the machinery to determine the problem.
Because of the lack of careful inspection or ignorance, the manufacturer or worker often overlooks small leakages. If the valve is determined as the source of the leakage, repair it immediately or order replacements.
Fixing it may seem like an obvious point, but note that many tend to ignore such leaks because they seem to give no trouble during daily functioning. Unrepaired leakages may indicate serious, more intricate problems. Prolonged leakages may also harm other moving parts of the machinery or infrastructure, thereby turning it obsolete sooner.
Do not skip regular maintenance check-ups. It is always better to diagnose a problem before it turns into something bigger and more expensive to reverse.
Lubrication is an often-overlooked preservation step. It prolongs the lifespan of the valve and machinery by decreasing the ill effects of wear and tear. Lubricating your valves is perhaps one of the most inexpensive maintenance tips.
This step is crucial to the smooth functioning of the machinery or infrastructure because it prevents seizure and machine lethargy. Regular lubrication can extend the lifespan of your valves as well as keep them sealed.
Make sure that you rotate the valve while greasing or lubricating. The action ensures that the lubricant reaches every corner and valve cavity.
Remember to do your research before choosing your valve lubricant. There are many choices in today’s market, but don’t go about picking the first product that reaches your hand. If you end up with a clay-based lubricator for a valve dealing with high temperatures, the product may harden and seize. The seizure may leave solid scraps behind, leading to blockages and potential accidents.
Choose the correct lubricator for your valve type. Your choice should consider your valves’ applications, the chemicals or fluids they come into contact with, etc.
Today’s world offers water-resistant lubricant, lithium-based, CO2 resistant, high-temperature resistant products, and many more.
You can also add protective insulation to protect your valves and pipes from external deteriorative forces.
Clean, lubricate, inspect, and protect your valves. Simple steps go a long way in maintaining and extending the lifespan of machine parts. Preventative maintenance goes a long way in saving time, effort, and money.
The lifespan of a valve is dependent on its design ability to function as expected. If these valves are properly maintained, there can be many inconveniences and expensive reconstructions. Poorly maintained valves are also prone to accidents. The lack of timely inspections can have potentially dangerous consequences for the worker and the infrastructure.