Leakages are among the most common problems that affect hydraulic plumbing systems used in the commercial set-up.
Business persons who use these plumbing systems need to understand a few basic things about hydraulic leaks so that they're in a position to manage this problem effectively.
With this in mind, this article discusses the 3C's (causes, cost and corrective measures) of hydraulic plumbing system leaks.
Leakages in a hydraulic plumbing system can be as a result of one (or a combination) of the following factors:
- Loose pipe threads: In a large number of hydraulic plumbing systems, hydraulic components of the system are connected using threaded pipes. In order to achieve a sated-fast connection, the threads are tightened around hydraulic components of the system. Involuntary movement within the commercial plumbing system can cause further tightening of these threads or it can make them become loose. Leakages result when the pipe threads become loose.
- Defective hydraulic seals: Seals are used to prevent the occurrence of leakages in a hydraulic plumbing system. When exposed to high fluid temperatures within the system, hydraulic seals can harden. Once hardened, the seals lose their elasticity and are likely to crack. The end result is a leaking hydraulic plumbing system.
Aside from the fact that a leaking hydraulic plumbing system will have an increased rate of fluid consumption, system leakages can have the following cost implications:
- The cost of a possible lawsuit: Environmental protection agencies are always on the look-out for commercial entities whose day-to-day activities generate excess quantities of fluid waste products. A leaking hydraulic plumbing system is bound to be more "wasteful". Pun intended. Should the fluid waste products end up in nearby soil and water systems, the affected commercial entity is likely to face an environmental lawsuit.
- The potential cost of employee injuries: Leaks and spills from a hydraulic plumbing system will expose employees to a higher risk of slip-and-fall accidents. The cost implications of such accidents will often have to be borne by the employer.
In situations where system leaks are as a result of loose pipe threads, perhaps the best corrective measure would be to replace pipe thread connections in the system with gaskets or valves. This is because threaded pipe connections often lack the capacity to bear the force of high-pressure fluids within the system. Re-threading these connections will often be a temporary solution.
Hardened hydraulic seals should be replaced with new seals. Before this is done however, it is advisable for business owners to invest in a heat-exchanger for the hydraulic system. An exchanger will work to regulate the rate at which heat is generated and dissipated within the system. This will reduce the likelihood of seals being exposed to excessive temperatures.