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4 Key Inspection Guidelines for Maximum Pump Life

Posted by IER Services on Jan 17, 2019 7:44:00 AM

Extend the Life of Your Pump 

Most submersible pumps operate in rigorous conditions that can increase the chances of pump failure. To insure consistent operation that will last for several years, proper preventive maintenance is needed. pump controls-1

When IER Services installs a new submersible pump, we provide a full start-up report that compares the data sheet specs to your actual operational performance. You can then monitor any performance changes going forward.

Regular preventive maintenance inspections address small issues before they become major problems.

Regular maintenance will also help you troubleshoot the causes of issues and help to identify corrective actions to resolve and prevent these events from occurring in the future.

There are four key areas you need to include in your regular maintenance:

  1. Check the Electrical Usage

Monitoring the electrical usage can help identify a problem with your pump. As part of a good preventative maintenance program, the voltage and amperage draw are periodically measured and compared to the original start-up data.

Two critical electrical attributes that should always be monitored on a submersible electric motor pump are the input voltage and the output current draw. The input voltage should match the nameplate specifications by +/- 10%. The voltage measured during the initial starting should not drop by more than 5% of the measured line voltage with no loading. The voltage supplied to each leg of a three-phase motor design should show no more than a 2% variation.

The measured amp draw of the motor should not see a variation more than 5% on each leg and should be within the nameplate specifications of the pump. The amp draw will be less when there is no flow, while maximum flow should increase the amperage draw to the rated amperage or Full Load Amp draw (FLA) found on the product nameplate and data sheet specifications.

  1. Check the Alarm

Monitoring devices that will set off an alarm if a potential failure threshold has been reached, can be set up on a submersible pumping system. Checking the mechanical seal chamber is critical. Many models incorporate a seal failure control circuit in the controls that works with a seal minder probe located in the pumps mechanical seal chamber.

A seal failure circuit (or moisture detection circuit) is designed to monitor the amount of moisture within the mechanical chamber. Once a critical level of moisture has entered the mechanical seal chamber, an alarm is initiated.

This alert can allow you to schedule your repairs and inspections of the pump, preventing expensive failure and unscheduled downtime.

If a seal minder alarm is activated, a sample of the seal chamber oil should be taken to verify the amount of water/contaminates present in the mechanical seal chamber. It will be necessary to replace the seal if the fluid shows high levels of contaminants.

There are a wide range of preventive alarms that can be installed on a submersible pump and the associated control system. Motor temperature sensor alarms, high fluid level alarms, over and under current alarms, are just to a few that are available. Each application will determine the proper alarms needed by the system.

  1. Check Pressure and Flow Checks 

 A submersible pump should perform at the same flow and pressure output that was measured and noted in the start-up report. Consistent pressure is essential. The pressure gauge reading will indicate the psi (pounds per square inch) performance level of the pump in the piping system and should stay consistent as long as there have been no changes in the pumping system.

Any discrepancy between current operation and the start-up report is a signal to check for possible hydraulic problems. Sources of these issues can be clogging within the pipes, valves can stick, a change in control valve settings, or critical piping system changes. Alterations in the fluid entering the sump basin can also change the performance of a submersible pump. Also, excessive solids, fluid specific gravity, and chemical changes can affect a submersible pump’s performance.

  1. Perform a Visual Inspection

Pull your pump for a visual inspection during your preventative maintenance. Look for:

  • Debris jammed in the suction inlet, pump housing or stuck around the impeller
  • Signs of physical damage
  • Any solids like milk fats, animal fats or sticky materials adhered to the pumping elements
  • Signs of physical damage, chemical attack or erosion

Check the exterior for dents, corrosion or abrasion. There should be no cuts or frays to the sensor cables or power lines. The sump basin should be checked for excessive build-up of solids.

When Do You Need to Call IER Services for Repairs?

Most routine maintenance and repairs can be performed in-house by a qualified maintenance technician. However, when there has been a change in pump performance, and preventative maintenance checks do not define a clear path to a root cause solution, assistance may be required.

At IER Services, we supply and service pumps for any job and application. We have a fully equipped pump repair shop with a large stock of pump parts to reduce down time on any size of pump.   

We repair and maintain:

We are available for scheduled pump maintenance, emergency service, start-up, repairs, and retrofits for all makes and models of pumps, everything from booster pumps for irrigation systems to multi-stage centrifugal pumps for submerged oilfields. 

IER Services is proud to be able to deliver a high level of customer service. We keep your rotating equipment running correctly and efficiently while minimizing your total lifetime maintenance and operation costs.

Contact Us Now!

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We hope our information will help you with any questions you may have about the products and solutions we can provide for your HVAC and fluid flow projects.

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