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                          better cashfloë...

        a study on winterising your property

 

 

 

background

The freezing conditions from recent winters, has caused considerable damage to properties.  The Irish Insurance Industry reported a massive €300 million in damages through the winter of 2009/10.  Of course, it’s not so much the frost damage that’s the problem, but from the water damage once the pipe or fitting thaws out.


The types of dwellings which are most likely to suffer from damage caused by freezing of pipes are seasonal dwellings, which may be vacant for a substantial part of the cold season and which are left unheated.  Such dwellings include Holiday Homes, Static and Touring Caravans, Motorhomes, Boats and Barges etc.  Indeed any home, office, factory or school which is left unattended through a cold spell is vulnerable from freezing and burst pipes.

Others at risk from the effects of freezing during winter periods are any external systems, such as sprinklers and other irrigation systems, power-hoses, hose reels and pond pumps etc.

 

conventional frost protection

Throughout the years, there have been many attempts to prevent pipes from freezing during a cold snap.  Central heating pipes should be treated differently as they should be topped up with anti-freeze to cope with the cold temperature.  However, hot and cold domestic water pipes are mainly at risk. 

To drain these, some rely purely on gravity and hope that the water will simply run out of the lines, usually with devastating consequences.  The more accepted solution is to remove the water altogether, in preparation for Winter. 

 

 

touring caravans, motorhomes and boats

In a typical draindown procedure for these vehicles, all an owner or a Caravan Engineer will usually do is, open the dump valves for the water heater and the water tank (if present) and let the water run out underneath. 

Some more experienced individuals recognise, at any one time there is roughly about 1-1.5 litres of water trapped in the pipes.  This water if left will go stale and produce bacterial debris and biofilm (see fresh-water-floe).  But just as important, in winter this water can freeze and cause a lot of damage at a huge cost. 

Now, generally the pipes will be fine as they are made of flexible plastic, but the ice surrounding on-board pumps, filter bottles and taps will destroy these components as they are more brittle and vulnerable. 

In an effort to get the water out, owners have had no choice but to try to either blow the water back down through the pipes in reverse with their mouths over a tap, or drive home with the water heater and tank dump valves open, hoping that gravity, braking and accelerating, will be enough. 

To be fair, some are luckier than others in removing enough of the water not to do damage, but it should be noted that, through tests over the last few years in conjunction with caravan bodies and customers, we have found that at best, there is still at least half the water left in the system, which could still do a lot of damage, or that water will go stale and grow bacteria over the winter period.

 

static caravans and holiday homes. 

To drain such a static caravan or holiday home in preparation for winter, a Service Engineer, Plumber or owner would first turn off the mains water stopcock, then open the drain valves under the caravan. or any retro-fitted fitting in the home.  He would then position a large commercial shop compressor (seen below) inside the property.  Using the end of the compressor hose the Engineer would attempt to blow the water back down through each tap in reverse “the wrong way”, draining the water out of the valves underneath.

Aside from being an awkward and dirty job climbing under a caravan, decking or in attic spaces etc, this process has four inherent drawbacks. 

  1. It takes a lot of time - about 45-90 minutes. That said, the owner's paying the bill.

  2. He must try and create a seal with his hand between the hose end and the tap mouth.

  3. Modern day showers are now fitted with non return valves just behind the mixer block, to prevent back-siphoning.  Therefore, the mixer block needs to be removed to drain, again a timely exercise.

  4. Without dismantling, it is impossible to drain the pipe leading to the toilet, therefore leaving it vulnerable. 

These are not bad ways to draindown as they have been used for years.  But that's just it, they’re outdated and usually render the property useless throughout the winter season, as in most cases the water system has had to be dismantled.  As systems have become more sophisticated and expensive, draining them in reverse is becoming much less possible, however the likelyhood of damage and huge expense is growing.  All this is understandable of course, as to do the job, thn63hg.jpgere has never been an over the counter tool available - Until Now. 

N.B.  An important note for Engineers or savvy enthusiasts.  The use an oil filled compressor is illegal according to WRAS Water Regulation Byelaws.  Only oil free compressors may be used as they do not blow oil vapours down into the lines, which is a pollutant.  This is a fineable offensive, up to £1000 per property.

 

how to floë

Floë works on the simple principle of blowing water out of taps and fittings “the right way”, leaving nothing but air in the pipes.  What we mean by this is that, our specialty is to push the water out of taps, showers and fittings, in the direction that the manufacturers intended and not in reverse. 

An added bonus is that, it will assist in the draining down and cleansing of a boiler by blowing air through it.  This will clean the boiler's iinternal hot water heat exchanger, extending the life of that component (£700-1,500) and heating your hot water more efficiently.  In a recent study, this was found to have fuel bill savings of up to 20%.


Floë is the link that enables you to push air into a water system and therefore push the water out.  It is connected by attaching a footpump or small oil free 12 volt compressor to the valve end (the sort bought in an auto-parts store).  The other end of Floë is attached to the water system via plumbing fittings or a variety of adapters, depending on the application.  This will give access to push air into the water mains system and push the water out of taps etc. 
(See demo videos in the products sections) 

 

 

touring caravans, motorhomes and boats

We have a number of kits available which are either fitted outside if you use an outside portable water tank, or fitted inside if you have an on-board tank.  To drain down, first the water heater and on-board tank (if applicable) is drained and then the dump valves are turned off together with all the taps to seal the system.  Floë is fitted to the vehicle and the compressor and the system is pressurised to 15 PSI.  Once pressurised, the owner opens a tap inside such as, the hot kitchen tap.  (Doing this will demonstrate that air is passing through the water heater).  After the water is pushed out and only air is left, the owner turns off the tap again to reseal the system. (Demo Video)

 

static caravans and holiday homes

To drain down, first the mains water stopcock is turned off and Floë is simply connected to an outside tap, or a washing machine or dishwasher fitting inside.  A washing machine type tee fitting could also be fitted close to the stopcock so that water can be pushed out from this point forward.  Then, attaching a footpump or small 12 volt compressor, air is compressed inside the system to 30 PSI.  Once pressurised, the owner opens a tap inside such as, the hot kitchen tap.  (Doing this will demonstrate that air is passing through the boiler, cleaning it in the process).  After the water is pushed out and only air is left, the owner turns off the tap again to reseal the system. (Demo Video)

No matter which application you use Floë for, this process of compression, tap on and tap off is repeated for all of the hot and cold taps, showers, water heater and toilets (if necessary).  Simple !!.  By the end of the process your system will be bone dry.  Finally, all the taps should be left in the on position.  This will allow fresh air to circulate keeping the lines fresh and any missed residual water to freeze and creep up the lines and not burst out of them. 

 

 

benefits

Only taking ten to fifteen minutes, you can be assured that your caravan, motorhome or holiday home has complete FROST PROTECTION IN THE WINTERTIME.  Instead of worrying whether you are going to be Winter’s next victim, another statistic with an insurance company that may refuse to pay you, as they will call it “negligence”, have the confidence to know that water has been removed around vital often fragile components such as pumps, water taps, shower blocks or any copper water lines.

Further benefits can be realised such as, by draining down, you can have the FRESHEST OF DRINKING WATER EVERYTIME YOU USE IT.  This is particularly of use to touring caravan, motorhome and boat owners with portable supplies, where "running the taps" is not an option, thus saving lengthy trips to the standpipe.  Why use stale water when you can have fresh water for drinking beverages, washing, brushing teeth and preparing fruit and vegetables.


NO MORE BOTTLED WATER.  Water has become expensive and lets be honest, who knows where it comes from, so it wont take long to pay for your floë system and it’s yours for life, no maintenance and no costly filters.

You can BE BETTER TO THE ENVIRONMENT, by not creating more rubbish for the landfill site with empty water bottles and flushing out your water system several times with perhaps 50L of water before use.

You’ll also SAVE MONEY ON COFFEE AND TEA.  That’s because, it takes less to make these essential beverages with fresher water.  Also wait until you stand outside your property, take in the view, smell the aroma of a freshly brewed cuppa and taste the freshness.   It’s the best.

Floë has only been on the market since 2010 and is the only one of it’s kind.  Currently it has five patents pending and uses the methods advised by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS).

 

 take action

Take a look at our variety of products together with full demonstration videos to show you just how easy and effective it is to use Floë.  But, just don't just take our word for it.  Make sure to have a look at our extensive list of customer, magazine and video reviews.

Should you like to order from us, you can do so by visiting our shop online and if you visit our stockists page, you should be able to find a caravan accessories retailer carrying our range of products near your location.    Thank you for reading.

 

 
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