Understanding Pump Failure: Causes, Symptoms and Mitigation

A pump failure is a mechanical or electrical problem that prevents a pump from functioning correctly. This can be caused by various issues, including a broken impeller, a loss of power, or a clogged filter. Pump failures can lead to severe consequences, such as flooding, water damage or complete failure of the piping system, so it is essential to take steps to prevent them.

In this article, we will discuss the causes of pump failure and common symptoms and ways to mitigate them. We hope this information will help you troubleshoot any problems you may experience with your pump and get it up and running again as quickly as possible.

There are several things you can do to help prevent pump failures. First, make sure the pump is installed correctly and maintained. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for information on how to care for your specific model. Second, use high-quality parts and filters. Third, be sure to check the pump for signs of wear and tear regularly. And finally, if you do experience a pump failure, be sure to call a professional for help. Pump failures can be serious, so it’s important to take all the necessary precautions to avoid them.

Pump Failure

What are the Major Reasons for Pump Failure?

Many issues have been identified that can lead to pump failure. However, it is often a series of issues or their combination that eventually leads to pump failure. Following are the major reasons for pump failure:


1. Lack of Proper Maintenance:

Pumps need regular maintenance and servicing to function correctly like any other machinery. If they are not appropriately maintained, it can lead to pump failure.


2. Foreign Objects:

Foreign objects such as dirt, debris, rocks or gravel can get into the pump and cause damage or blockages. This can lead to pump failure or even damage the piping system.


3. Worn Out Parts:

The moving parts in a pump will wear out with time and need to be replaced. If they are not replaced as per the pump manufacturer’s schedule, it leads to pump failure.



4. Incorrect installation:

All pumps need to be installed as per the pump manufacturer’s recommendations. If a pump is not installed correctly, it can cause problems and lead to pump failure.



5. Poor Quality:

Using a poor quality pump can lead to various problems, including pump failure. This is why you must always procure pumps from a reliable pump manufacturer.



6. Overheating:

Overheating is one of the most common causes of pump failure. It can be caused by several factors such as incorrect installation, insufficient lubrication or foreign objects blocking the cooling fins.


7. Vibration:

Excessive vibration can damage the internal parts and lead to pump failure. These vibrations are caused generally due to alignment issues, inherent installation issues or even overuse of pumps.


8. Cavitation:

Cavitation is a condition where air pockets are formed in the liquid being pumped. This can damage the pump and eventually lead to failure.



9. Corrosion:

Corrosion can damage the internals of a pump and cause it to fail. Corrosion generally happens when the fluid the pump is driving is corrosive or, at times, a lack of regular clean-up.



10. Electrical Issues:

Electrical problems such as voltage surges or power outages can damage a pump and cause it to fail. Many protective devices can safeguard the pumps from this, but sudden surges can still cause the pump failure.


What are the Major Symptoms of Pump Failure?

Instantaneous pump failures are easy to detect. However, pumps start showing particular symptoms over time, leading to pump failure. You must know these symptoms to act on time to save the pump.

  1. The pump doesn’t seem to be working as efficiently as it used to.
  2. You notice an increase in the energy required to operate the pump.
  3. The pump makes strange noises that you haven’t heard before.
  4. You see water or other fluids leaking from the pump.
  5. The pump isn’t generating enough pressure to correctly move fluids through your system.
  6. The pump is running hot, even when there’s no load on it.
  7. The motor seems to be struggling or straining when the pump is running.
  8. You notice vibrations or excessive movement coming from the pump.
  9. The pump just stops working altogether.
  10. You see smoke or fire coming from the pump.

Pump Failure

How to Mitigate Pump Failure?

No engineer would want an operational pump to fail. It will only lead to process disruption and possible loss in revenue. Hence you must try and avoid pump failure as much as possible. Following are the ten ways to mitigate pump failure:

  1. Use a reputable pump manufacturer with a good track record.
  2. Select the right pump for the application – one that is appropriately sized and has the required flow and pressure capabilities. Your pump manufacturer can guide you in this process.
  3. Ensure that the pump is installed by qualified personnel and meets all installation requirements as provided by the pump manufacturer.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions to keep the pump running smoothly and efficiently.
  5. Inspect the pump regularly and perform routine maintenance according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
  6. Keep an eye out for early warning signs of pump failure, such as increased vibration or noise, leaks, or erratic performance, and take action to address them promptly.
  7. Use high-quality pump parts and fluids, and make sure they are compatible with each other.
  8. Be aware of the conditions that can lead to pump failure, such as cavitation, overheating, and dry running, and take steps to avoid them.
  9. Use a monitoring system to track the pump’s performance and identify potential problems early on.
  10. Have a plan in place for dealing with pump failure, including having spare parts on hand and knowing how to troubleshoot and repair the problem.

Following these tips can help mitigate the risk of pump failure and keep your operation running smoothly. If you experience a pump failure, working with the pump manufacturer or qualified repair service can quickly and efficiently get your pump up and running. Also, it is advisable that if you observe any of the pump failure symptoms, then you quickly inspect the pump and consult a pump expert if needed.

Pump Failure

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