‘Pumping it Up‘ with a Performance Check List

As we all know, scheduled pump maintenance is critical in ensuring that systems are running smoothly and preventing unscheduled downtime. Pumps that are not properly maintained can cause unnecessary stress on parts and premature obsolescence of the pumps.

Whether you use your pumps for agricultural, construction, industrial or sewage applications, keeping them in shape can help reduce costs and boost profits by cutting energy consumption, reducing parts replacement costs and minimizing pumping time on every project. Having a good preventive maintenance program that includes a Performance Checklist will help avoid potential problems and make sure that the pump is running at its best.

The three main types of maintenance programs include:

1.  Daily Maintenance, where each day the pump should undergo a visual inspection, ensuring there are no leaks, corrosion or breakage.

2.  Monthly Maintenance, which would include lubricating bearings in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, checking and repairing seals, adjusting motor couplings for efficient transfer or output, and making sure that the pump is mounted securely onto its base.

3.  Annual Maintenance, once a year maintenance that will include inspecting the pump to adjust, repair or replace drive belts, bearings or any damaged parts as well as performing a vibration and temperature analysis to check the motor’s condition.

Here are a few of the more common items to look for:

1.  Check operating condition. Check air release devices, valves, check valves and shock control devices for proper operation. Old discharge lines are subject to internal rusting and pitting, which cause friction loss and reduce flow.

2.  Check for air leaks. Using a vacuum gauge, make sure that the suction line, fittings and pipe plugs are airtight. Replace leaky seals and badly worn hoses.

3.  Check the suction hose lining. The rubber lining in a suction hose can pull away from the fabric, causing partial blockage of the line. If the pump develops a high vacuum but low discharge, the hose lining may be blocking suction flow. Replace hose.

4.  Check the suction strainer. Frequent inspection and cleaning of the suction strainer is particularly important when pumping liquids containing solids. Proper size strainer should prevent pump from clogging.

5.  Check impeller vanes, wear plate or wear rings. The removable cover plate on many pumps permits quick, easy inspection of the impeller and wear plate. They’re subject to faster wear when pumping abrasive liquids and slurries. Wear plates and wear rings can be replaced without replacing expensive castings.

6.  Check impeller clearance. If the clearance between impeller and wear plate or wear rings is beyond recommended limits, pumping efficiency will be reduced. If the clearance is less than that recommended, components will wear excessively. If tolerances are too close, rubbing could cause an overload on the engine or motor. Check the impeller clearance against pump manual specifications and adjust if necessary.

7.  Check the engine or motor. The pump may not be getting the power it needs to operate efficiently. The engine may need a tune-up or the motor may need service.

8.  Check the seal. Most pumps are equipped with a double seal lubricated under pressure – with a spring-loaded grease cup or an oil lubricated tungsten titanium carbide seal for long, trouble-free service. If your pump has a single seal and it is lubricated with the water being pumped, sand and other solids can cause rapid wear. Check and replace the seal if worn. Replace seal liner or shaft sleeve if it has scratches.  Seal Replacement Sample Video

9.  Check bearings. Worn bearings can cause the shaft to wobble. Eventually the pump will overheat and sooner or later it win freeze up and stop. Replace bearings at the first sign of wear.

Additional pump maintenance tips are available at Pumps Maintenance

What maintenance tips do you have to share?