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Quality and Service Since 1936

Generally Speaking

News and Information about General Air Products Fire Protection and Industrial Equipment

  • Viking Virtual Fire Protection Showcase

    In these unprecedented times, the fire protection industry has had to get creative in figuring out ways to connect with one another and find innovative ways to provide information on products and trends. Under normal circumstances, a lot of this would happen at trade shows throughout the year. Since we’re unable to meet on the tradeshow floor, our long-time partners Viking Group Inc and Viking SupplyNet took the tradeshow virtual.

    On June 17, Viking invited a handful of companies to make presentations throughout the afternoon during the Virtual Fire Protection Showcase. We were thrilled to be among those presenters. We were able to give all attendees a tour of the Fire Sprinkler System Training Center at General Air Products and show everyone the updates and improvements we’ve been making within that space. Additionally, members of our sales department presented on General Air Products’ NFPA 13D residential pump and tank systems, our complete line of dry pipe system air compressors, as well as our specialized compressor products like our Dry Air Pacs and Nitrogen Generators

    Although we look forward to when we can meet with partners, customers, and friends within the industry face-to-face, the Virtual Fire Protection Showcase was a great opportunity to engage with everyone in a new way. To see our full Virtual Showcase presentation, be sure to watch the video below.

  • Chillers for Distilleries - Selecting the Proper Equipment

    Chillers in Distilleries are used to cool a number of different distillation processes in the distillery.

    Chillers are versatile pieces of refrigeration machinery that cool liquid – usually a glycol/water mix, which is circulated to regulate the temperature of many different processes: distillation columns, mash coolers, heat exchangers, fermentation tanks, etc. When controlling the temperature and timing of your process matters most, an industrial chiller will provide the constant supply of cooling fluid for the job.

    Why Do I Need a Chiller for My Distillery?

    Your chiller provides the cooling fluid to condense the vapors from your still, and cools mash down from the high temperatures of the cooking process. Historically, water was used to cool down the still – and in a few select distilleries, it’s done that way to this day. Most are now turning to chillers due to their rapid cooling capabilities as well as water conservation. Chillers allow the glycol/water mix to be run on a closed loop, meaning no waste. Additionally, the quicker the mash is cooled, the less potential there is for bacterial growth.

    What Should I Look For When Purchasing a Chiller?

    Chillers for Distilleries Our 12-Ton Packaged Air Cooled Chiller can handle a heat load of 142,800 BTU/hr or 41.85 kW. This model is commonly used by the distilleries we work with.

    First & foremost, make sure the chiller you’re being fit with has an adequate heat load. Also known as cooling capacity, the heat load is the rate at which a chiller can cool process fluid. We don't expect you to know how many BTUs/hr or kW you'll need to keep up (we'll help you there), but not all chillers are made to withstand the extreme temperature fluctuations that are used in the distilling process. Quickly cooling 150°F mash down to 80°F before fermentation can cause strain on chillers that aren’t properly sized.

    What Information Do I Need to Select the Proper Chiller?

    Each distillery we work with is unique, and requires different production schedules, space requirements, and plans for future growth. As soon as you’ve decided on the size of your still(s) and mash cooker, we’ll be able to start helping you design your distillery cooling system.

    Knowing when your equipment will be running will also play a big factor. For example, as your distillery grows, you may decide to increase production by adding a night shift – which would almost always call for a larger chiller than you originally purchased. Discussing your future growth plans with your process cooling technician could help save your distillery money long term, while easing potential strain on your chiller in the meantime.

    Bluebird Distilling in Phoenixville, PA is one of many expanding distilleries to have their cooling processes managed by General Air Products chillers. Their Rye is the fan favorite in our office!  Photo: Street and Stripes

    In a distillery, your chiller has multiple processes that need its constant support. As such, your cooling process should ideally be designed in with the rest of your distilling equipment and purchased at the same time you purchase your still. Discussing your cooling needs with engineers who know the distilling process is key to selecting the proper chiller. As one of the most versatile process cooling applications we serve (and one of our personal favorites!) we’re always here to hear your story, discuss your process, and fit you with the right chiller for your distillery. Give us a call, drop a comment below, or fill out a form on the right to speak with one of our process cooling techs today!

  • Why Stainless Steel Pump Components are Essential in Single Family Residential Fire Sprinkler Applications

    In a word: corrosion.

    In a far more important word: safety.

    Many booster pumps installed in NFPA 13D applications use the slightly cheaper yet much less safe alternative cast iron components, which are highly susceptible to corrosion. To understand this better, let’s look at the timeline:

    An NFPA 13D system (who’s booster pump is complete with a cast iron pump head and components) is installed and tested, and everything checks out. Right on.

    Stainless Steel H2hOme 13D Fire Pump and Tank Installation All of our 13D solutions, including the H2hOme 13D Pump & Tank Package, comes standard with a stainless steel pump head & components.

    Now your system sits - for years - maybe decades, without so much as a kick to the pump. Remember, there is currently no ITM required in NFPA 13D homes. Through the years, water sits ready inside the pump head, waiting for a trip in the system. This standing water will certainly cause localized corrosion when left untreated.

    A corroded pump head can result in decreased pressure and flow to a tripped sprinkler when it matters most but the biggest concern here is a failure of the pump to start up. Corrosion between the blade and internal wall of the pump or just on the internal wall of the pump can prevent the pump from turning.

    Stainless Steel booster pumps will resist corrosion more than cast iron in 13D applications. Cast iron pump head and blades corrode after a few eyars of service, via

    In the Fire Protection Industry we all know the value of reliability in our products, because it can mean the difference between life and tragedy. This rings all the too true in single family homes, where fires often occur when occupants are either asleep or at their most vulnerable. That’s why we’ve never built a 13D Fire at General Air Products with anything but stainless steel pumps and nonferrous components – and why you should never install one without them.

  • What To Do When Your Air Compressor Gets Wet

    Your air supply for dry pipe sprinkler systems can be affected by water for a number of reasons: a storm, flood, back-flow from the system after a hydrostatic test, or leakage from resetting a dry pipe valve to name a few. Water on a fire protection air compressor can cause the unit to rust prematurely, create a dangerous electrical short, and even create internal damage to the unit depending on the amount of water introduced.

    In order to keep your air compressor operational in the face of circumstances like these here are a few preventative methods to keep the compressor away from water, as well as some damage control that can be done if the unit is already wet.

    Before Your Air Compressor Gets Wet – Preventative Measures

    At installation, ensure that the riser mounted compressor is hung ABOVE the dry pipe valve. When a hydrostatic test is conducted, oftentimes leakage will occur both at the dry pipe valve itself and from drain points above it. Ensuring the compressor is mounted above those common leak points will remove them from the equation.

    If you are using a tank mounted compressor, apply the same logic – do not install it directly below the dry pipe valve or drains.

    *Photo of compressor hanging above the valve.

    Close the Isolation Valve When Running Your Hydrostatic Test

    Running a hydrostatic test without closing your isolation valve can flood your air compressor.

    It sounds simple, but before running a hydrostatic test on a fire sprinkler system, ensure that the isolation valve on the air line between the compressor and the dry pipe valve is closed. Isolating the compressor from the system during testing will ensure there will be no immediate backflow into the air compressor. While a simple step, this is often overlooked and can cause premature failure of your compressor by allowing water into the air pump head.

    *Pro Tip*: The correct positioning of piping drip legs will assist this. Consult our installation diagrams for correct position.

    Before Opening That Isolation Valve…

    Blow out the system. At the end of your hydrostatic test there’s likely water that’s settled against the back of your check valve. Before opening it up and exposing your compressor to that water backflow, perform a system blow out to remove that trapped water.

    *Pro Tip*: Trapped water is the number one enemy of any dry system. It will rapidly increase the likelihood of corrosion which can lead to air leaks. Performing a system blow out after your annual hydrostatic test will not only protect your air compressor, but is also an inexpensive way to mitigate corrosion and future air leaks in any dry pipe sprinkler system.

    So Your Air Compressor Is Wet. Time for Some Damage Control.

    As described, there are many ways that your air compressor can become wet. In the event of a small amount of water getting on the motor or electrical components of the unit:

    1. Turn it off.
    2. Clean up the excess water.
    3. Restore power and observe the unit as much as possible to ensure consistent and correct operation. If the unit sparks or sounds like it is struggling to run, shut it off immediately at the disconnect switch and the electrical panel, then contact the manufacturer for the next steps.

    NEVER stand in water while touching electrical panels. In the event your valve room floods, remove all water at your feet before handling the compressor’s connection.

    When in doubt about the amount of water that the compressor encountered or just as a precaution a smart move is to take the unit to a warm and dry place, allow it to dry out, and then have it checked electrically for ground faults or shorted windings. Only when it is cleared should the unit be put back into service.

    So Your Air Compressor Went for a Swim…

    Wet Air Compressor, Flooded Crank Shaft A rusted compressor sits with a flooded crank shaft since being left untreated after a flood.

    If your fire sprinkler air supply is flooded or in some way completely consumed with water we highly recommend that you remove and replace the unit. While some people have had luck drying the unit out and starting it up again, this is not recommended.

    Even in the event that the unit starts up again, there is no telling what internal damage has taken place. This can lead to an electrical fire or an unwanted system trip.


    Remember that water and electricity are not friends. When water gets onto any piece of industrial duty electrically operating equipment, use EXTREME caution. As always, when in doubt, turn it off and call General Air Products technical support at 800-345-8207.

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