Under Pressure: How and Why You Should Conduct Better-Than-Average Pipe Maintenance
Any and all industrial components can go wrong and require steady levels of maintenance to protect them. Pressure pipes are not unique in that regard. However, due to the nature of the contents they're transporting, and the fact that they are dealing with high pressures, problems with them can be more difficult to deal with than other elements. It doesn't help that pressure pipes form part of an intricate process which it may not be easy to halt in order to inspect them. Still, despite these unique challenges, you'd do well to keep well abreast of your pipes' maintenance requirements.
According to commonly-toted expert advice, pressure pipes should be inspected every 3-5 years. This jumps to every 2 years if they are transporting a corrosive material, as these pipes will need an internal inspection too—not just external. However, making a routine of giving the pipes at least a cursory visual inspection on an annual basis will help to ensure that no pressing issues are developing between their scheduled maintenance periods. After all, the sooner you catch a problem with your system, the less damage it can do, and the easier it will be to fix.
Prevention, Repair and Replacement
Everybody knows that prevention is better than cure, and the same absolutely goes for your pressure pipe system. If you can diagnose and eliminate potential problems before they actually impact the pipes' integrity or efficacy, then you'll be saving a lot of time and money that can be better spent elsewhere. Certainly, it involves actively devoting time to maintenance, which can be difficult in a busy environment—but it will work out in the long run. Consider also that while repairs are expensive, replacements are even worse. If you can catch a struggling pressure valve early before it actually breaks, then you may eliminate the need to purchase and install another.
The Value of Inspectors
Even if you keep up a good annual inspection and general maintenance routine, it's a good idea to invite external inspectors in to cast their eye over your system every now and again. Just scheduling a professional inspection every other maintenance cycle will ensure that you're not missing an issue that it takes a specialist to see. It can't hurt to have a second opinion. Equally, as highly trained individuals who spend a lot of time around this equipment specifically, they may have advice on how to better maintain your pipes in line with industry improvements.
Proactive maintenance may seem expensive, especially if you're not encountering any problems—but it's worth reminding yourself that this diligent maintenance schedule is the reason you're not encountering any problems. They simply don't have time to develop before you quash them, and that can only be a good thing.