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Glick Fire Equipment Company, Inc.

WET vs. DRY: Cold Weather Operation for your Pump

Most fire companies are seeking information on whether they should run a “dry’ or a “wet” pump during cold weather operations.

This article covers the Waterous recommendation along with several other “pros” and “cons” related to running the pump “dry” or “wet” in cold weather environments.


Since moving water doesn’t freeze, the fire pump should be engaged and water circulated during cold weather conditions. If circulating water through the apparatus booster tank, the tank to pump valve should be fully open and the tank fill valve partially open (approximately 1/8 to 1/4 from closed) to allow adequate circulation. The apparatus operator should continually monitor the pump temperature by feeling the intake fitting with their bare hand to ensure the pump isn’t overheating. If the pump is equipped with the Waterous “Overheat Protection Manager” (OPM) the apparatus operator should monitor the OPM warning light on the pump operator’s panel. If the warning light is illuminated the water temperature within the fire pump and apparatus booster tank is overheating and the pump must be disengaged or fresh water must be introduced into the pump through an intake to avoid severe damage to the fire pump and its components.

If operating from an outside water source, the apparatus operator should ensure that some water is being circulated through a discharge or tank fill valve to minimize chances of the pump overheating..

Wet Pump PROS and CONS



Waterous Pumps


A “dry pump” is not necessarily dry. Discharge and intake (compound) gauges, gauge lines, individual drain lines, pressure lines and other components with small orifices will have a tendency to retain water. Unless they are disconnected and allowed to drain they may retain water, resulting in freezing and subsequent damage to the components. Since disconnecting and draining of the lines is labor intensive, this practice is seldom if ever done. This promotes the need for pump house heaters and under body pump house enclosures when operating in climates where freezing conditions are a concern.

Dry Pump PROS and CONS



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