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5 Common Reasons for Pump Failure

This blog post was co-written by Eric Mante, our National Service Training Manager. 


Pump failure is always bad news. In order to minimize downtime, check out these 5 common reasons for pump failure to prevent problems before they occur. 

  1. Misapplication of pump - Proper application of the pump is essential to a successful job. Complete site and system information combined with product knowledge is the key here. The goal is to select the correct pump designed to run at its Best Efficiency Point for required flow. The pump system needs to be constructed of the proper material to resist damage and excessive wear from the product being pumped.

  2. System conditions change - Things change and the best protection we have against failure is early detection. This is where monitoring and troubleshooting can play a role. The sooner we know of a change in performance and can apply systematic troubleshooting to identify the source of the problem, the less likely the chance of complete failure. Some changes include product location, discharge location, weather conditions, and time allotment.

  3. Improper service - A solid Preventive Maintenance program and completing necessary repairs at the time of service are at the top of the list for ensuring a piece of equipment can make it through the job from start to finish. Ignoring service intervals can turn a small investment into a major expenditure quickly. Mechanics need to service equipment to identify problems, resist short cuts, and make proper repairs whether in the shop or in the field.  

  4. Dead heading a pump - The heat created in the pump-end by recirculating product under pressure can severely damage mechanical seals and wear parts. This could be caused by several things from a blocked discharge line, debris caught in the impeller to a vacuum leak in the suction line.  

  5. Solids passing through pump - Even with the best efforts, materials can find their way into the suction line and into the pump-end. Rocks and metal fragments of any size are probably the most disastrous, and can cause severe damage, such as breaking an impeller. It is important to understand ahead of time what is likely to be passed through the pump and use the appropriate size hole screen or strainer, particularly in non-solids handling pumps, and take actions such as keeping the suction inlet elevated from the bottom of the suction point.
 

Following these tips is a good start to preventing pump failure. For even more piece of mind, contact your local Xylem representative to discuss a Preventative Maintenance Agreement (PMA). With a PMA, the risk of breakdown is minimalized and we'll make sure your equipment is performing at maximum efficiency.

by Chirtopher L. Salstrom