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Top 5 Pump Faults and How to Fix Them

Dec 23, 2022 | Technical Literature | 0 comments

Find out what the most common pump failures are and the methods available to detect them before they stop running. One of the biggest issues facing maintenance and reliability teams today is the widening skills gap. The number of people with the expertise to diagnose and repair major failures plaguing pumps is decreasing every year. This can have very serious consequences. From paper mills to water treatment plants, the failure of even one pump can disrupt production.

Keeping your water pump healthy is critical, but to do so, you need to answer an important question: Why is the pump failing? This article will address 5 different situations that account for over 60% of pump failures:

1. Mechanical seal leakage
Most leaks usually occur at the interface between the two sealing surfaces, but leaks can also come from secondary seal areas. Mechanical seals can leak for a variety of reasons, such as lost motion, thermal deformation, and seal ring misalignment.

2. Process problems
These types of failures result from selecting the incorrect pump for a particular process, industrial application or operating condition. Therefore, it is crucial to have the right pump for your specific application.

3. Bearing problem
According to a technical report by RKB Bearing Industry Group, by far the most common cause of bearing failure is improper lubrication (80%), which causes the bearing to overheat. Other causes include improper bearing selection, overload, fatigue, etc.

4. Impeller wear
Like other failures, impeller wear has several causes. The most common one is corrosion, but it can also be caused by an improperly sized pump, which can cause pressure imbalances.

5. Coupling related issues
The most commonly encountered coupling failures occur for the following reasons: misalignment, overloading, unusual environmental causes, torsional vibration, and improper lubrication.


The quickest fix is to replace the failed component. But that doesn’t address the root cause, as we’ve seen from the examples above, there are always multiple reasons that can cause a particular type of damage. For example, if the pump is not properly grounded, current can leak into the bearings and damage them. Another example is cavitation, which can damage seals, bearings and impellers in the long run. In both cases, replacing the bad part will fix the pump temporarily, but if you don’t fix the root cause (grounding issue or cavitation), the part will keep failing, over and over again. So how can you spot these root cause issues before they start to physically manifest, jeopardize operations and potentially result in significant loss of revenue? One way is to use condition monitoring techniques.

Learn how current, voltage, oil, sound, vibration and heat can give you early insight into developing centrifugal pump failures—and which techniques work best in which situations to keep critical centrifugal pumps 100% up and running.


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