Proper Valve Stem Packing and Routine Maintenance

May 15, 2017 10:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A poorly packed valve is a valve that’s more prone to rupture or leakage—it’s a simple case of cause and effect. Conversely, a properly packed valve is going to hold up against industrial demands better, for longer—especially if it’s paired with an adequate level of routine maintenance during repacking.

Take a look at how to properly pack a valve stem and what types of routine maintenance steps should be taken to ensure it’s a job well done:

  • Close off valve: Before repacking a valve, make sure the gate is closed off completely. As with any valve services in Utah, closing the valve prevents flow during critical repair or maintenance.
  • Extract existing packing: Once the stem has been disassembled, it’s important to thoroughly clear the existing packing out of the stuffing box. This can be most easily done using a corkscrewed packing extractor. Make sure all debris and materials are removed and that the packing area is clean.
  • Smooth shaft: If there’s any corrosion or debris, emery paper can be used to clean the shaft. This will restore smoothness to the shaft and ensure it’s ready for repacking. It’s also a critical maintenance step over the life of your valve stem.
  • Seating packing rings: Proper packing for a valve depends on the type and style of the equipment at hand. Rotating stems can require just a couple of rings to ensure a proper pack, whereas rising stems often require triple or quadruple the same number of rings (depending on size). Once the appropriate number of rings is determined for a valve, they need to be seated individually. Mass-packing rings can lead to compression imbalances. Individually packing rings ensures they’re seated appropriately and thoroughly.
  • Replace valve stem: Restore the valve stem and screw the bolts gently back into place, ensuring the proper compaction and even distribution of force to the packing rings.
  • Pressurize the pump and test: Restore pressure to the pump and stand ready to observe its function. Adjust the seating bolts of the valve stem as needed during the initial stages of the test, until any leakage is reduced to a minimum.

Replacing packing properly is a cornerstone of valve maintenance, and is critical in preventing a tremendous number of maintenance-related issues from arising. In addition, make sure you’re knowledgeable in the right packing ring material for the job—options vary and certain materials may be more applicable depending on the medium within your valve, as well as its size. Speed, pressure and temperature also have an impact on valve packing material decision.

Choosing a qualified provider of valve services in Utah means making the decision to preserve your critical equipment to its fullest over the long-term. Even simple maintenance like repacking a valve stem can have a profound effect on its function. Intermountain Valve Services Inc. is here to make sure you’re in good hands by offering customers reliable valve repacking services, as well as the routine maintenance needed to sustain quality moving forward. Get in touch to learn more!

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