10 Ways To Murder Your Pump

10 Ways To Murder Your Pump

Your pumping equipment can be essential to the daily operation of your business or household. We have assembled the top 10 ways you can kill your pumping equipment and what’s required to keep it alive and healthy.

1.  Overwork Your Pump Unit

Ensure the equipment is suitable for the application and operating duty of the system.

  • Regular checks of operating conditions and monitoring equipment like:
    • Flowmeters
    • Pressure gauges
    • Amp/voltmeters
    • Pump glands
    • Pipework and valving noise levels
  • Allow time for the correct maintenance
    • Provide a standby unit if a 24-hour operation is required
  • Check the equipment design criteria if changing or altering duty cycle or application
    • Head capabilities
    • Operating speeds
    • Impeller diameters
    • Pipe system details

2.  Break Its Limbs

Mounting equipment on uneven surfaces.

  • Use shims-packing or machined surfaces to avoid warping of housings.
  • Use of heavy suction/discharge piping and fittings without adequate supports without flexibility for stress or vibration.

3.  Poison It

Supply details of the product to be handled by equipment.

  • Ensure your supplier checks the datasheet on the product from the manufacturer for materials suitability.
  • Don’t change the equipment application without carrying out the relevant checks, as the components below may not be suitable.
    • Mechanical seals
    • Packing
    • Construction materials

4.  Stab It

Ensure the pump is selected to suit your application.

  • Applications include:
    • Clean water
    • Sewage
    • Dirty/gritty liquid, slurry
  • Always use a suction strainer and ensure the inlet holes are no bigger than the solids handling capacity of the pump unit.
    • 30mm solids through the pump; then strainer should be 30mm or less and watch if slots are used in strainers and not drilled holes.
  • Always check suction strainers are clean. If they clog up, they will restrict the pump intake.

5.  Fry It

Operate the pump within the manufacturer’s working temperatures and range.

  • Restricted suction or clogged delivery or recirculating valves cause:
    • Centrifugal pump damage because of liquid temperature rise.
    • Submersible pump motor overheating due to insufficient cooling.
    • Vent air from pipe systems.

6.  Neglect Medical Check-Ups

Carry out regular service maintenance.

  • Preventative maintenance is cheaper than crisis maintenance or no maintenance.
  • Special attention is required to detect leaks from:
    • Mechanical seals
    • Packing glands
    •  Bearings
    • O-rings
    • Pipe systems and corrosion
  • Check drive assemblies, including:
    • Couplings
    • Belts 
    • Gearboxes (alignments, adjustments, vibrations, noise, worn components)
  • Operating temperatures
  • Packed glands need to leak some fluid to cool packing; mechanical seals should not leak.

7.  Shake It To Pieces

Start with sturdy level foundations.

  • Mount equipment on even/level foundations and bases
    • Pack gaps; don’t pull down on foundation bolts (shims/grout)
  • Ensure all drive alignments are completed correctly and accurately.
  • Re-check all alignments after installation and on receiving units after repairs and transportation back to the site.
  • Check pump unit for cavitation noise, i.e. rattly sound in pump – look for cause and eliminate.
    • Possible causes:
      • Too long or small suction pipe
      • Too high suction lift for pump application design
      • Pump duty changed without consulting pump performance or manufacturers recommendations.
      • Incorrect shaft speed
      • Check radial and axial thrust loading on bearings and impellers (balance/blockage)
      • Loose mounting/foundation bolts

8.  Drown It

Installing equipment in positions or plant rooms with no sump or external drainage.

  • Subject to flood water or water leakage from pipe systems and valves.
  • Gland or seal water leakage, i.e. pump/motor bearing failure, can cause corrosion on equipment.
  • Ensure gland drain provisions and external liquid drains are not blocked.

9.  Inadequate Service

All equipment needs attention.

  •  Lack of lubrication for bearings (grease/oil)
  •  The incorrect type of lubrication or excessive lubrication.
  •  Lack of attention to gland packing or mechanical seal allows air intrusion, causing the pump to lose its prime.
  • Over tightening the packing causing heat from the shaft to affect bearing grease.
  •  Ventilation/Cooling
    •  Too confined enclosure with no ventilation for typical type motor or engine TEFC/combustion
    • Insufficient cooling water flow over submersible motors, i.e. sewage or submersible borehole pumps.

10.  Choke It

 Inadequate liquid supply:

  • Falling or lowered liquid level increasing suction lift
  • Increased or reduced suction pipework
  • The closed valve on the suction intake
  •  Clogged suction strainer, pipework or impeller
  • Storage reservoir empty or supply stopped
    • Boost pump
  • Broken or leaking suction line or fitting
    • Gate valve gland
  • Application or duty changed to outside equipment operating parameters
    • Output capacity vs. pump suction capabilities pumps run dry – no prime.

Need a quote?

If you are looking for a new pumping system or upgrading an existing one, Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatments pumping team can design a custom system perfect for your needs. Contact our team of product specialists for a quote today.

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