Cold Weather Flow Measurements

Winter is just a few months away, and when the cold weather finally arrives, it can cause big issues with your flow management operation. Measuring flow in cold weather situations can be very difficult, and if you don’t take the proper precautions, it may cause big problems for your operation.

Fortunately, with a little planning, you can make sure that your flume works the way that it should all winter long. Here are a few tips for measuring cold weather flows that you should keep in mind before the winter season arrives.

Beware of Blockages

One of the biggest reasons that measuring flow in cold climates is more difficult is because there’s an increased risk of blockages. If your flume is located outdoors in an area where ice, snow, and other wintry precipitation is common, your flume can easily become blocked after a storm, which means the device won’t work the way that it should.

During the winter months, your operators will need to be very diligent about checking your flume for blockages and removing anything that may interfere with the flow. After a storm, your operator should check your flume and clear it of any snow or ice, and they should also periodically inspect the flume to make sure that no tree branches have fallen in.

If winter storms are frequent in your climate, you may want to consider adding an external heating element to your flume. A heating element will melt any icy precipitation that makes its way into your flume so that flow can move through freely.

Flumes Shifting Out of Place

Frost heave and settling are also big risks when measuring cold weather flows. Frost heave occurs when the groundwater expands and shifts the flume out of its proper position. This is slightly different than settling, which is when something in the soil changes, such as compaction or saturation, and moves the flume.

Obviously, both of these issues can be big trouble because they mean your flume won’t be in the right position, which can cause flow bypass. Fortunately, like many flume issues, you can easily prevent both frost heave and settling problems with proper planning and preparation.

With frost heave, the easiest solution is to add large footings to your flume to keep your device in place. You may also wish to add insulation to the flume so that the ground around the flume isn’t affected by frost. If you’re worried about settling, you can add extra support to your flume and have your operators regularly check the soil around the flume to see if there are any potential problems developing.

Buy a Flume

Now that you know a little more about cold weather flows, you should be ready to keep your flow measurement device up and running during the coldest months of the year. If you need to purchase a new flume before the winter arrives, Tracom, FRP is here for you.

We specialize in fiberglass flumes and other flow management equipment, and we’d be glad to help you find the tool that’s right for your operation. Contact us today to get started shopping for your new flume.

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