Top Tips On How To Maintain The Different Types Of Pumps

Water and water pumps play a critical role in all kinds of industries, but they are most important in domestic, commercial, and agricultural applications. The processes in these sectors mainly rely on water and many safety systems also require water pumps to be in top shape for the safety system to function properly. While water pumps and electric motors that drive those pumps can easily last for several years or even decades, a small glitch can also compromise the entire system.

Pumps are very acutely calibrated machines. Even a minor change in the setting can have a significantly adverse impact on the performance of the pump. This is why it is important for users to get their pumps tested and inspected on a regular basis to make sure everything is the way it should be.

Maintain The Different Types Of Pumps

Pump maintenance is challenging because there are so many little things that could go wrong. The most common pump problems usually involve a small error that has gone undetected for many months or years, which eventually leads to a complete system failure. The pump technicians might not have had the right tools to check the pump, or they might just not have been paying attention to the minor signs.

However, for the asset owner, this can mean thousands of dollars in repairs or even a complete pump replacement. If you want to keep your pumps in great shape, here are a few things to watch out for.

Voltage

In 90% of pumping applications, the water pump is driven by an electric motor. In some specific situations, it might be driven by a diesel engine. Some of the most common problems with water pumps actually result from a voltage problem in the motor, while the pump itself is usually fine. If your water pump is not creating the right amount of pressure, if the motor is getting too hot when it runs, if you can smell burned enamel, or if your electricity meters are showing abnormal voltages and amps, you might have voltage problems with the motor.

When the voltage is too high or too low it changes the standard RPM that the pump is receiving from the motor and results in changes in pump behavior. This is why it is very important to have meters installed on the pump socket to make sure you can keep an eye on voltage and amps. This could be due to poor wiring, socket problems, winding issues, or a problem in the electricity supply from the grid.

Seals

Seals

Another common issue that people face with pumps is that the joints and seals around the pump start to leak. Again, this can result in pressure drops, increased power consumption, increased time to fill up the same tank, or a range of other problems. This is a major part of industrial pump maintenance, especially in situations where water pumps are running at very high pressures continuously. Eventually, the seals and gaskets give way and water starts to leak out. While it might look like only a minor leak on the surface, it is causing a major change in internal pump pressure and disturbing the water flow in the pump body.

This problem should be addressed as soon as possible before the water gets into the motor winding. In the case of submersible pumps, this can be hard to identify since the pump itself is out of reach. However, with submersible pumps make sure you also check all the connected piping as there are many joints in the pipe going down the bore.

Balance

A pump set consists of the electric motor and the water pump assembly. Even in the case of monoblock pumps which look like a single device, these two components are actually coupled together. In some cases, it is a single shaft running through the motor and through the pump, but in other cases, there is a flange in between the two different shafts that connect both components.

One of the first things to fail in all kinds of water pumps is the bearing that holds the shaft in place. Even though these generally have a service life of thousands of hours, local conditions can make them deteriorate faster. When this happens, the shafts start to get out of alignment. Since the bearing can no longer provide the smooth rotation that is needed, it creates more vibration than the pump can bear, and eventually, you can get shafts that are completely misaligned.

Naturally, with the pump spinning at such high speeds, even a slight change in alignment will seriously damage the pump internals and the motor. If you detect your pump vibrating a bit more than it usually does or it is louder than usual, make sure you don’t have a balance issue with the device. Shut the device off completely and don’t run it at all until it is resolved.

Heat

Pumps themselves create a lot of heat, motors create a lot of heat, and water pumps are installed in places that don’t have excellent ventilation nor is there any kind of cooling available to them other than the fan on the motor itself. Failure from heating is another very common problem, and it can ruin both the motor and the pump. Whenever you are running a pump for extended periods of time, make sure you check the temperature. When installing pumps, try to install them out of direct sunlight and away from other heat sources.

One of the best ways to diagnose problems and check the health of a pump is just to use your senses. Check if you can see any fluid leaks or if you can smell anything burning. Touch the pump to check for any unusual vibration, heat, or moisture, and keep your ears open for any unusual sounds. If you don’t see anything wrong through all these checks, then the pump is healthy and operating as it should.

A good precautionary measure is to have return valves and some extra electricity meters installed to help you keep an eye on voltages. In case anything goes wrong with the plumbing down the line from the pump, the return valves will help protect the pump.

Thank you for reading!

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