Neil Weston, Keraflo Sales Manager and ATCM Chair, discusses why so many consulting engineers and specifiers are turning to Keraflo to help with the safe re-commissioning, repurposing and refurbishing of buildings as well as future-proofing water safety during post-COVID flexing building occupancy levels
Lockdowns across the UK have posed a demanding challenge for us all, but it is now abundantly clear that planning to return to something approaching “business as usual” presents innumerable challenges for anyone involved in recommissioning, repurposing or designing and constructing new buildings, and perhaps more importantly, refurbishing existing facilities. These challenges are especially evident when it comes to the water systems in buildings.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, many buildings had to close to protect public health and reduce the spread of the virus. But now, as businesses and organisations start to get back to normal as restrictions are lifted, it is important to ensure that public health continues to be protected. With almost all of 50 of the UK’s biggest employers saying they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time, a trend reflected in the SME sector, it’s clear that the water systems in buildings need to be able to match a highly flexible demand.
A sitting duck?
Where the water is drawn directly from the mains supply it’s not so much of a challenge. But in larger facilities, we can often see up tanks often holding well in excess of 20,000 litres of cold water stored in tanks on site. Pre-COVID, when offices were at capacity, use of the water would have matched the tank size and performance ensuring optimised and safe flow rates. But now there could be significant amounts of water simply sitting still and not being used which increases the risk of stagnation in the storage tanks. If these levels aren’t being monitored or controlled in any way, this creates a perfect environment in which bacteria thrive. The single most important thing with a water storage tank is that the water should be turned over every 24 hours as a minimum.
Tanktronic – the next level of tank performance and safety
Keraflo has been synonymous with water tank management valves and controls and is perhaps best known for its range of unique delayed action float valves. These go a long way to helping with water turnover and lowering the water level in tanks if required, but to take tanks to the next level of safety you need to monitor what is happening in the tank and act accordingly. This is where the unique WRAS approved Tanktronic from Keraflo comes into it own. This is a device designed to work in harmony with the Keraflo Valves as a tank monitoring system or with the Electro-Mechanical Filling Valve for monitoring and filling. The Tanktronic is a modular electronic tank management system, which provides a simpler solution to monitoring and managing water levels, volume and temperature through one connection, as well as managing and controlling tank filling. The system also provides proactive alarms for high and low water levels and water temperature alerts. Monitoring the temperature in the tank is key to ensure the water is kept healthy, as often the first indication that there’s a problem is a high temperature alarm. Tanktronic can be used to control a motorised valve on the drain of the tank in the event that an unacceptably high temperature is reached, so that water is discharged to drain, and the tank is replenished with fresh cold water.
Tanktronic’s innovative ‘flex functions’ (aka holiday functions) means you can have different water levels for different times of the year, weekends, and even different days of the week. So, if you know building footfall will be higher on say the first and last day of every week, you can set Tanktronic to automatically manage this. You can even take the guesswork out of sizing the tank and ensuring turnover, by using one of these flex settings so that you empty most of the tank before refilling at a regular interval, say perhaps once every week. Tanktronic can also be set up to fill two tanks simultaneously.
Perfect for retrofit and refurbishment projects as well as new constructions, the user-friendly system, is quick and easy to install and offers a complete cost-effective solution to water monitoring and filling with some very advanced options increasing its usability, efficiency, safety and most significantly, flexibility.