Troubleshooting Water Pump Problems: Priming
Many companies rely on water pumps. From factories to construction to agriculture and more, business depends on water pumps, so when they stop working properly, it can cost time and money. Being able to troubleshoot water pump problems on site can save time and money. By knowing what pump issues cause which performance problems, you can begin pump repair or replacement more quickly.
Previously, we covered impeller problems for centrifugal pumps [/blog/centrifugal-pump-not-pumping-as-much-water/]. But issues can go well beyond that. Following are some common pump performance issues and steps to troubleshooting their causes.
Pump Not PrimingIn order to create the ‘success’ necessary for the pump to operate properly, they need to be primed. Pump priming removes the air in the pump and hose, replacing it with fluid.
Pump Not Actually Primed This happens more often than you might think. Pump operators assume the pump is primed, and don’t actually check. So the first step in troubleshooting a priming issue is to check the pump was primed (or attempted to be primed) first.
Suction Line Is Too Long To PrimeThe standard distance between the pump and the water source is 20 feet. At most, your distance may be up to 25 feet. If it is any longer, you’ll need to reduce the distance between the pump and the water source and use a shorter hose.
Obstruction In Water FlowThe water flow obstruction does not have to be a complete stoppage, just enough to impede the flow necessary for priming. Check the screen to be sure 1) that is is not blocked, and 2) that is is not too tight for your pump. If the screen is correct and clear, check the hoses for any impediments.
Air Seeping Into The Suction Line Check all connections to be sure they are tight. Do not overtighten, but be sure they are properly snug; hand tighten and then add about one full rotation.
Review all suction lines or hoses. These can wear over time, causing small leaks in the lines. Depending on the level of wear, you may be able to make an emergency patch, but you should replace the worn lines with new lines. If they’ve worn in one area, they’ll wear in another. Replacement is the best defense against future problems.
Worn GasketsWhen you’ve tightened the connections and check the hoses, but still have leaks, you might have a worn gasket. Open the couplings and visually and physically inspect the gaskets. Any worn gaskets should be replaced.
Inadequate Power To Water PumpIf the revolutions per minute (RPM) is too low, the pump will not prime. Be sure the engine or motor are operated at the correct RPMs for your water pump. The priming issue may be a power supply problem and not directly a pump problem.
There are other issues with water pump performance. We’ll cover more issues and how to troubleshoot the water pump problems in future posts.