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  1. #1
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    May 2019
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    USDA plant has condensation problems, urgent solution needed.

    After installation and a year's operation of this poultry processing plant in Gardiner Maine, the inspectors have noticed and ordered that condensation issues be resolved. The main issue is overhead pipes that supply cold rinsing water to the process lines are condensing the high humidity in the environment and dripping onto the process lines.

    The 24' x 36' x 12' high processing room has 3 large dehumidification units that are not sufficiently handling the humidity. A suggestion was made to add more units but the $40,000 price tag is not my first choice for my client.

    I suggest insulation of the Pex pipes which are suspended overhead, or moving the entire piping system into the space above and creating penetrations into the process room from overhead.

    Insulating would be simplest if there can be a guarantee that a foam wrap or sleeve applied to the Pex tubing would effectively bar the condensation on the pipe..... or if condensation still occurred within the pipe/insulation envelope, that there would be no general buildup and eventual leakage/dripping...i.e. does it solve it or does it just mask and postpone a problem? Are there insulating materials that would be ideal...closed cell foam formulations vs. janky hardware store stuff?

    If this is not the best place to discuss this, would one of you experienced guys direct me to the best source?

    thanks,
    ccaissie

  2. #2
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    May 2019
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    Jamestown, NY
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    You will get condensation even with pex pipe. You definitely need the pipes insulated, but the real fix is lowering the temperature in the packing area and wringing out the humidity. How warm is it getting around the pipes?

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Feb 2016
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    Louisburg Kansas
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    There is too much that we don't know to give you an answer other than squeeze enough water out of the air to prevent the condensation. The room temperatures and clean-up methods all come into play at times.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Insulation, a gutter system or trough to catch the condensation, and funnel it to a floor drain. Install mixing valves and raising the temperature of the pipes above the dew point, or as you said verify operation of dehumids and maybe add more $$$$.
    Honeywell you can buy better but you cant pay more

    I told my wife when i die to sell my fishing stuff for what its worth not what i told her i paid for it

  5. #5
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    Feb 2016
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    Louisburg Kansas
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    If chicken plants are anything like beef packing plants the room temperatures are really cool. During line shutdowns for cleaning steam is routinely used for cleaning. Standing water in these facilities start growing unwanted crude within about 45 minutes. Procedures for warm-up, cleaning and cool down have to be established aside from condensate prevention of the pipes which should have been done when the pipe was installed.
    I have visited beef packing plants to resolve issues and without going to the plant and analyzing everything there was no way to solve the problems. Maintenance is a big factor.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Iowa
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    Not enough information has been provided to offer a real solution. Because you specifically said Pex, to me the best option expressed so far is to move the water line to where it can't be a problem. With respect to stopping the condesate dripping and trying to come up with ways to reduce, eliminate or redirect, to me the only way solve the problem 100% is to reroute the Pex water lines. Insulation and or drainage system all come with their own problems and concerns in the future.

    If moving the water line is not chosen, 1. The type and thickness of the insulation needed can be calculated for the application. 2. A gutter system is a fast immediate way to eliminate the dripping issue. Gutters I would think in very short time would have some very special growth in the gutter which will require treatment (bleach) and cleaning.

    If insulation is chosen I'd recommend they talk to a commercial/industrial insulation company. Why you may ask; your profile say you are an HVAC guy, and this is likely outside of your normal work and expertise. Since this is a "poultry" processing plant and the condensate has the potential to contaminate a food supply you don't want to do this job yourself just using your knowledge. Unless you were to get a professional engineer (signed/stamped) approval for the repair. You don't want the liability of forcing a production line shutdown, recall, or food borne disease problem. If there are lost profits by the processing plant and or illness you will likely find yourself named in some legal action

    Good Luck

  7. #7
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    Apr 2010
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    California
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    Insulate, Retard, and Cover !
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #8
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    Mar 2015
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    I'm kinda surprised that with this being a "USDA plant", that more intensive knowledge & consideration about this matter isn't immediately available to solve this problem.

    Exactly what is it that you do for your "Client" ccaissie113?
    Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you may be no priest to me. Because you have forgotten your Gods law, I will also forget your children.


    "You've got to Stand for Something or You'll fall for anything" (A. Tippin)


    Mat_15:24 But he answered, I wasnt sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

  9. #9
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    I can't imagine exposed uninsulated pipes in a Food Processing Plant!

  10. #10
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    May 2014
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    Bay Area California
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    Quote Originally Posted by pecmsg View Post
    I can't imagine exposed uninsulated pipes in a Food Processing Plant!
    Yeah, that was my first thought, and for a whole year.

    My second thought is that maybe they did not use to drip water, and if that is the case, then something else changed in the facility.
    If you were a real tech, you'd solder a relay on that board and call it good to go.

    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

    I use 56% silver on everything except steel.

  11. #11
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    Jun 2003
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    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
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    Any idea of what the temperature and %RH is in the space and the temperature of sweating pipe is? Also are you sure the dehumidification system is working as designed.

    Make and model of dehumidifiers?
    Air inlet and outlet temp/%RH of the dehumidifiers would help us. How much water is being removed? Is this just summer problem or year around. During winter, the outdoor is dry enough that ventilation may solve problem.
    You could insulate a shout length of pipe to test your insulation solution.
    Sweating is funny. Lowering the dew point of the moisture in the air 1^F might stop the condensation. The same applies to the cold pipe temperature.
    This might be simple.

    More info would help.

    Regards Teddy Bear
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Thread Starter
    Greatly appreciate the responses. i'll try to get all replies into this one.

    I am a general mechanical designer, worked in designing dehumidification equipment and have been involved in process machinery for a few years.
    I have designed process equipment, mostly stainless fabricated fixtures and water treatment equipment for my friend /client who now is running a USDA poultry plant.
    Agree that this detail of condensation ought to have been handled before I got on the scene. I did run some pex overhead for a wash circuit last year and did not see nor was not informed of a condensation issue...maybe USDA inspectors are like deer...they don't look up.
    The wet environment is cool, probably averaging 55 F, and must be ~100% humidity. Process water is ambient or line temperature.
    I have not identified the existing chiller/dehumidifiers re: capacity. They're pretty big and are generally adequate, with no condensation issues on the walls, dors or other surfaces. Only on the 3/4" PEX pipes overhead.
    I did visit the plant and installed a section of test Armacell brand rubber insulation and tee-fitting rubber jacket to assess the effectiveness of a full day's processing tomorrow. The weather is forecast to be rainy, so any air entering the plant will be laden. When I strip off the insulation after a full day's processing and find it to be completely dry, I will report this to the USDA inspectors and propose that this solution is adequate and they should authorize the entire system to be so treated.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Iowa
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    Something is not sounding correct here. This is your first postings and thread. In your profile you said your were a Technitian/Installer. Now you state you are a mechanical designer. You are doing this for a friend. You said "you" installed a Pex water line. (That's Plumbing work for which you need a plumbing license) Armaflex is great product but I don't believe it is NSF approved. I didn't think the USDA Floor inspectors approved design modifications. Are you just trolling or are you a real contractor/engineer?

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