You may not know it, but you could be hurting your pump! From pipeline misalignments to choking, starving and overloading, there are a several ways people inadvertently murder their pumps. Our experts have seen it all on the field. Although we cannot change the nature of the fluid, there are many things we can and must do to improve pump efficiency, performance and life. So don’t be a statistic! Read about the 13 ways you could protect your pump and maximize its life.
1. Pay Attention to Piping
Installing a pump is simple; however, to ensure optimum performance and life, the piping system needs to be designed carefully. Check out our pump piping guidelines, which illustrates correct pipeline installation methods proven by hundreds of installations or consult Ali Yaqoob Trading Co. L.L.C.
The pump must be located as near as possible to the storage tank.
At the inlet:
No pump can discharge more than it receives, so the inlet piping must be carefully considered.
A flexible connection should be used in the pump inlet and outlet piping to compensate for piping strains.
Inlet piping size should never be smaller than the inlet of the pump. If the inlet piping is inadequate to supply the demand of the pump, you may be in big trouble.
The inlet line should be level or sloped downward to the pump
At the outlet:
A pressure gauge should be installed in the pump outlet. This will help you determine the efficiency of your system.
A thermal relief valve should be installed to protect the pump from excessive pressures due to thermal expansion.
If the outlet piping exceeds 50 feet in length, it is necessary to install a check valve near the pump outlet (after the bypass valve).
Outlet piping size should never be smaller than the outlet of the pump
2. Install a Bypass Valve
A pump bypass valve must be installed in the pump outlet (never at the inlet).
If the pump discharge is shut off before the driver is stopped, extremely high pressures can develop, unless a bypass valve is installed to allow the pump to discharge back to the supply tank
Operating at shutoff for a long time with the bypass line closed tight will convert power to heat and fry the pump.
3. Don’t Neglect the Drive System
The drive shaft and pump shaft must be parallel. Misalignments will cause the pump to overhear due to excessive friction. It will subject the shaft, seals, and bearings to alternating forces and shatter the pump.
The drive system design is extremely important. The designer of the drive system must select a drive shaft capable of meeting the torque requirements of the pump.
The wiring of your motor is critical and should be done by a competent electrician.
Improper motor wiring will cause expensive motor difficulties from low voltage.
Connect your motor for the voltage available. Your motor will be destroyed you connect to the wrong voltage!
4. Use Proper Foundation & Baseplate
The foundation should be firm, level and made of concrete.
The pump-motor set must be properly secured to a common baseplate, which in turn should be anchor bolted and securely bonded to the concrete foundation using epoxy grout.
Improper foundation and base support can cause excessive pump vibration and physical damage.
5. Don’t Overload it
Pumps are designed for specific operating conditions. Any additional loads can adversely affect the pump’s performance.
Operating the pump continuously at speeds, capacities, heads or flow rates outside its recommended operating range can cause the pump to overheat and eventually cease from a burned out bearing or broken shaft.
6. Grease or Lubricate it
Lack of lubrication is the main reason behind bearing damage, vibration from friction and much more. Very simply put, no grease / lubrication can ruin your pump.
Too much lubrication causes leakage, whereas adding too little causes it to break in short order.
7. Don’t Run it Dry
Never run the pump dry! Pumps require a constant supply of fluid to maintain stable operation.
NPSHA MUST be always be greater than NPSHR for the pump system to operate to avoid cavitation. This can happen three ways.
The fluid level in the piping / sump is low
The suction strainer is clogged
The temperature of fluid rises without a rise in the suction pressure
If the minimum acceptable suction conditions are not met, the mechanical seals can be subjected to severe wear and leakage.
The pump will make a distinct sound to let you know it is being run dry. If the sound is ignored the pump can end up becoming extremely hot and experience thermal shock. The rotor, vanes, cam and sideplate and the entire pump can be destroyed.
8. Strainers are Crucial
Suction strainers are required to prevent sand, grit and debris from entering the pump. Don’t remove it!
Periodically inspect the strainer, remove any foreign matter and clean it by dipping it in an approved solvent.
Heavy amounts of debris, sand and scale can cause premature wear to the internals and can eventually lead to service failure.
9. Use Compatible Fluids
Pumps are designed to handle specific fluid properties. Changing the fluid without checking with the manufacturer can cause severe damage to the seals, bearings and other internals of the pump.
Refer to the Chemical Resistance Chart to ensure you are using the right seals for your pump.
Certain chemicals can initiate corrosive action if they are not compatible with the internals of your pump. You could end up turning a well-engineered piece of equipment into scrap.
A water pump should never be used for pumping diesel. The wetted parts such as EDPM and silicone are not compatible with diesel and will dissolve in it.
10. Don’t Drown it
Do not plug the gland leakage drain for a packed pump.
Do not plug the vent line of a mechanical sealed pump. This will force the leakage into the bearing housing.
11. Use Qualified Personnel
Experienced, trained and qualified personnel must only perform inspection, maintenance and installation of the system. Cutting corners here can end up costing you a fortune in the end.
It is important not to rush the job. Do it once and do it right. As pump specialists, we have had to fix many problems over the years caused by amateurs.
Check qualification of the personnel
12. Inspect & Maintain
Follow regular inspection and maintenance schedules as recommended by the manufacturer to maximize operation time and prevent failures.
Bearings need periodic level checks or replenishment to operate properly
Inspect vanes, drivers, packing, gaskets, O-rings, as well as other small parts and replenish as needed.
Periodically repaint or lubricate the pump
Check for vibration, bearing temperatures and look for leaks
13. Run it at its BEP
BEP stands for Best Efficiency Point; it indicates the pump's optimal performance. Your pump should always be operating within +/- 10% of BEP on your pump's performance curve. Operating outside of that range can cause numerous issues including reducing your mechanical seal and bearing life as well as increasing cavitation in your pump. Learn how to calculate your pump’s performance, and get it operating within its BEP to increase your system’s efficiency!
The solution to preventing damage and costly repairs is to install your pump correctly and proactively inspect and maintain it. Remember, prevention is always better than cure! While it may seems challenging at first, you can always start by reading manuals on proper maintenance and installation techniques or refer to this guide. Alternatively, you could get in touch with a reliable supplier who will provide you with all the assistance you need.
We have tremendous knowledge of pumps and related flow equipment. Our engineers and technicians are factory trained and experienced and can perform inspections, maintenance and installations for all your pumping needs. We offer high-level technical support to provide you with the best cost-saving solutions possible.
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