Pumps and Glycol Solutions

Just completed two webinars; one on the use of glycols as heat transfer fluids and the other on retrofitting pumps in HVAC applications.  Both of these topics are related in that pumps are used to circulate fluids, including glycols, to transfer heat.  Typical applications for glycol use include the food and beverage industry, HVAC, and process chemical.  Pumps applications not only include the previously stated industries but also, utility; both electrical and water, petrochemical, and plastics, to name a few.  Insurance carriers that cover businesses in these industries need to be concerned because property damage as well as personal injury can occur when spills and pump failures occur.  Corrosion is a major problem in systems using carbon steel piping as a conduit for the transmission of the gylcol.  If not properly mixed and the correct inhibitors added, the glycol solution can be acidic and cause wear to occur in pipes and fittings resulting in leaks and spills, if not carefully monitored.  Similarly, the internal components of pumps can come under attack and fail as a result of the acidic conditions that could arise if the glycol solution is not properly mixed.  However, during such instances, insurance carriers are also considering the possibility of subrogating against a third party in order to recover their expenditures.  Potential defendants would include the company mixing and/or installing the glycol solution, the designer and installer of the piping system, and the selector and installer of the pump used in circulating the glycol.  It should be noted that the internal components of the pump can be selected based on compatibility of the fluid to be circulated.

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Ram Truck Recall

Fiat Chrysler has announced that it is recalling approximately 494,000 medium and heavy duty Ram trucks for a problem with a water pump.  Approximately 443,000 trucks are in the United States.  The recall applies to 2013-2017 Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks equipped with 6.7 liter engines.  The recall also affects vehicles built with 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs.  The problem with the water pump is that the pump is equipped with a certain type of bearing that can overheat and cause a fire.  Fiat will begin notification of owners when service is available although there has been no indication of when that will take place.  For additional information, owners can contact Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at 1-800-853-1403.

Volkswagen Recalls CC and Passat Vehicles

Volkswagen has announced that it is recalling approximately 280,915 CC and Passat sedans and wagons for a problem with the fuel pump control module. The engines in these vehicles can stall as a result of the loss of power to the fuel pump module.  The loss of power means that fuel flow to the engine will cease causing the engine to stall and increasing the possibility of a collision.  In addition, the fuel pump module can remain running after the ignition is turned off.  All of the vehicles involved in this recall are equipped with four cylinder engines.  The vehicles involved in this recall are 2009 to 2016 Volkswagen CC and 2006 to 2010 Volkswagen Passat.  Volkswagen will begin owner notification in October and will send a second letter to owners advising of the date of availability of the replacement fuel pump modules.  For additional information, owners can contact Volkswagen customer service directly by calling 1-800-893-5298.  Owners should refer to Volkswagen recall number 20AE.

GM Recalls 2014 Silverado and Sierra Trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on June 29, 2017 that General Motors is recalling 2014 Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. According to NHTSA, 690,685 vehicles in the United States are involved.  The problem with these vehicles is that the electric power steering assist can fail increasing the risk of a crash.  At this time, neither NHTSA or General Motors is providing any details about the specific problem.  NHTSA has also indicated that GM has not yet scheduled a date when notification letters to owners would be mailed.  For additional information, owners can contact General Motors customer service by calling 1-800-222-1020.  Similarly, GMC owners can call 1-800-432-8782 for answers to their questions.  In both cases, owners will need to reference GM recall # 17276.

Honda Accord Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that Honda has recalled 1,148,550 vehicles because of a battery fire hazard. More specifically, the recall is for 2013-2016 Honda Accords.  The problem is that a battery sensor, when wet, will short circuit and can ignite.  Honda will begin notifying owners by sending out an initial notification letters beginning July 31, 2017, since parts are not yet available.  The letter will instruct owners to take their vehicles to their Honda dealer and that the dealer will replace the battery sensor free of charge.  Owners should also know that the NHTSA campaign number is 17V418000 and the Honda recall number is KGO.  Lastly, for additional information owners can contact American Honda Customer Support by calling 1-888-234-2138.

More on the Use of PEX Pipe

I just completed watching a webinar on “Designing Effective PEX Hydronic Piping Systems”. I have written on the subject of PEX piping before (See “The Problem with PEX Pipe” published 7/21/2012 and “Update – The Problem with PEX Pipe published 1/9/2013) and as a refresher, PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene.  This is a chemical process whereby pipe is manufactured by cross linking elements of the molecules that make up the material.  The resulting pipe definitely has some advantages in terms of price and handling.  However, no matter who the manufacturer is, the pipe still has two major drawbacks: it is affected by UV radiation (sunlight and similar lighting) and it is made brittle by chlorine.  In the case of hydronic systems, these are systems that carry cooled or heated water for cooling and heating purposes, mostly found in large commercial and office buildings.  These types of systems don’t carry potable water and as a result are not susceptible to the deterioration caused by chlorine.  Since the piping is usually hidden, it is also protected from the effects of UV radiation.  The concern arises when PEX piping is used in plumbing applications to carry potable water to any end user.  Chlorine can and will attack the pipe and cause it to eventually leak.  Water leakage, depending on the location can result in property damage costing thousands of dollars to repair.  Some manufacturers use antioxidants to neutralize the effect caused by chlorine but, it can be “used up”.  That is, when the antioxidant effect has been depleted, chlorine will continue to attack the pipe as if the antioxidant were never there.  Uponor, the sponsor of the aforementioned webinar, has been contacted and questions submitted for their response but, we have not yet heard back from them.  If Uponor responds after this article is published, then we will pass along their comments.

Recalls From Volkswagen and Hyundai

Volkswagen Group of America has recalled approximately 240,487 vehicles as a result of a fuel pump problem. More specifically, the recall applies to 2013-2017 Audi Q5 and Q7.  These vehicles are equipped with a fuel pump that has a flange which can crack.  The crack in turn, can allow fuel to leak and fuel in the presence of an ignition source can result in a fire.  Audi will advise owners (usually by regular mail) and dealers will replace cracked fuel pumps free of charge.  If fuel pumps are found to be crack free, then a protective film will be applied in order to prevent cracking, also free of charge.  The recall is expected to begin on July 2, 2017.  For further information, owners can contact Volkswagen by calling 1-800253-2834.  The recall number for this campaign is 20Z8

Hyundai Motor Company has announced that it is recalling approximately 600,000 vehicles in two recalls. The first recall involves 2013-2017 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, about 437,400 vehicles. Corrosion can attack the secondary hood latch and cause it to malfunction.  More specifically, the actuating cable can bind causing the hood to open while the vehicle is in motion.  The recall will begin June 30 with Hyundai notifying owners and dealers replacing the hood latch free of charge.  The second recall applies to 16,074 Hyundai Genesis and Sonata Vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2016.  Corrosion is also to blame for attacking the parking brake switch.  As a result, the parking brake light may not illuminate if the driver does not realize that the parking brake is applied.  This recall will also begin on June 30 with the notification of vehicle owners.  Again, dealers will repair the affected vehicles free of charge.  For further information on either of these recalls, owners can contact Hyundai by calling 1-888-327-4236.

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