When your manufacturing environment depends on the consistency of water flow from reservoir to machine, it's important that you can depend on your centrifugal pumps. If you're noticing fluctuations in water volume or other concerning symptoms, you need to know when it's time to call for service. Recognizing and troubleshooting problems early may actually save you from costly downtime due to pump failure. Here are some of the things you should be attentive to.

Unusual Sounds

During your periodic inspections, take some time to stand by the pump and listen as it runs. It should sound smooth and consistent. Any thumping, whining, or grinding sounds from the inside of the pump should be addressed immediately. Noises like these are often indications of either bearing problems or a bent shaft. Inspect the impeller shaft to be sure that it isn't warped or bent, and check the bearings for sufficient lubrication. You may need to have a technician replace the shaft if it's bent, and ensure that any lubrication is done by a specialist as well so that you don't risk damaging the pump.

Visual Problems

Many potential problems with centrifugal pumps can be spotted with a standard physical inspection. Schedule routine inspections, and make sure that everyone responsible for these inspections understands what to look for.

Start by checking the exterior casing. There shouldn't be any moisture visible outside the case. If there is, trace it back to its origin to identify which seal has failed. The seals on the casing should be preventing this, but they can deteriorate over time, causing leaks.

Run the pump and observe it as it cycles. If the case is vibrating at all, check for any abnormal sounds. In the absence of any odd noises, you'll want to monitor the gauges over the course of a couple of days. Watch the output levels to be sure that they are within the expected range. If they remain in that range, you may have a problem with the alignment of the pump and the motor. Alignment issues need to be corrected by a pump technician.

If the gauges are showing no readings on the output, that means the supply tank is empty. Refill the tank and watch the gauges again. If that doesn't fix the problem, you'll need to call your pump service technician for more detailed troubleshooting steps. He or she can help you safely determine the source of the problem and fix it.