water tower overlooking a town on the coast

Water Tower Temperature Control

Much of our water supply system uses above-ground water supply tanks that are vulnerable to a number of environmental threats. One of them is cold weather. While it’s technically possible to put water supply tanks underground to keep it safer, doing so is incredibly expensive and requires massive civil engineering projects, many more pumps, and a lot more energy consumption.

In reality, it’s easier to simply add heat and insulation to vulnerable points in our water supply as needed.

A common point of concern in the system is the riser, a pipe that runs from ground level up to the bottom of the water supply tank. These pipes are small enough that they’re vulnerable to freezing rather quickly. Malcolm Jackson, the Business Development Manager for tank and maintenance supply company Utility Service Co., Inc., explains:

“Many tank risers are wrapped with heat tape, covered with insulation and capped by an aluminum jacket. In addition, a heating system may be installed in an adjacent building or into the valve pit underneath the riser. The heater introduces heated water or steam into the base of the riser. In either case, the heat rises into the tank to [mitigate] freezing.”

This is only one example of preventing water infrastructure from succumbing to the cold, and there are countless other industrial use cases for water temperature control; from food processing to data centers. Whether it’s meant for consumption or for processing, water management is incredibly important.

Common Water Heating Problems

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Environmental Factors

Extreme weather conditions increase the freeze threat and can cause temperatures to drop suddenly.

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Connectivity Failure

Monitoring and control logic in remote locations can fail if network connectivity issues arise.

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High Energy Consumption

Water temperature maintenance uses a lot of energy and can become very expensive.

ControlByWeb™ Solutions

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Weather Monitoring

Analog and digital inputs capture weather station data for complete environmental awareness.

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Stand-Alone Reliability

Our stand-alone I/O devices keep your processes working even when network connectivity fails.

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Efficiency Enablers

Our device’s built-in interface contains custom logic which allows for fine-tuned control to maximize efficiency.


Case Study: Rural Northeast Municipality

A municipal customer in the Northeast US heats the riser on their water supply tank with a 1-million BTU heater. In order to prevent sudden freezing, they needed a controller that could take into account weather data like temperature and wind speed. However, it needed to intelligently react to dropping temperatures to conserve energy.

The solution was our X-410 controller with 4 digital inputs, 4 relays, and up to 16 1-Wire temperature sensors. The X-410 is a capable stand-alone controller which supports all the sensors and custom control logic needed. Our customer used two temp sensors connected to the X-410’s 1-Wire Bus to monitor the water riser temperature and the outside air temperature, along with monitoring the frequency of a contact closure inside an anemometer (wind speed sensor).

Custom control scripts were then written to consider both temperature and wind speed to run the heater at timed intervals to prevent freezing, and then to run continuously as the temperature drops low enough. This gradual response avoids excessive energy consumption, while staying ahead of extreme weather conditions.

Rural water tower

Frequently Asked Questions


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