Resources // Boiler Maintenance

Key Indicators to Repair or Replace a Pump


The primary purpose of a pump is to circulate water throughout your hot water system.

Some of the common indicators your pump(s) is (are) not working properly include:

  • Unusual noise
  • Water is leaking from the pump
  • The pump is constantly operating
  • The pump is unusually hot to the touch
  • It’s taking longer than usual to achieve hot water
  • The pump is not operational at all

How do you know when to replace it?

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During the average day, a mechanical maintenance department might come in proximity to dozens and sometimes hundreds of pumps just doing a routine walk-through.  Although there is likely a full regiment of Preventative Maintenance surrounding pumps, an up-close evaluation of each pump is often missed.  Even the best PM plans will result in pump failure at some point in time.  Not getting caught off guard when it does fail remains the trick.

The most common time the up-close evaluation of a pump occurs is when trouble arises.  When a pump is making noise, not developing pressure, leaking, or lost capacity.  Generally, this is the point where we begin troubleshooting the issue only to find the result is the same.  Repair or replace. 

Regular review and recording of pump operation could give a heads up to a pending problem.  Pumps are mechanical and are going to have issues at some point, so trying to determine “when” can save numerous headaches.  Here are a couple of things to consider.

Leaking.  Pumps should never be leaking.  Left alone leaks will progress and never get better.  These leaks can lead to pump shaft damage as well.  If it is leaking, repair it as soon as possible.

Noise.  Being familiar with the sounds a pump makes can reveal issues with the assembly later when the normal sound becomes a noise.  Rather than count on memory, a good PM practice would be utilizing an electronic stethoscope with visual scaled indication.  Record the readings on a regular basis; if noise levels are rising, it might be time to repair/replace.

Temperature.  Pumps that are showing signs of pending failure may begin to get hot.  Checking and recording motor and pump temperature can reveal early warnings of potential failure.

Pump operation.  Understanding pump operating pressures with the installation of pressure gauges around every pump, to be monitored and recorded.  A comparison of pressure readings to the original pump curves can give you a reasonable estimate of the current water flow through the pump.  Reduced capacity can happen with wear.  Might be time to replace.

Motor amp draw.  Recording and trending motor amp draw provides good troubleshooting information.  Where amp draws are minimal, there is not likely much flow through the pump.  If amp draws are higher than expected, this could be the beginning of a mechanical or electrical issue.

How will you know when it is time to repair or replace it?  That’s going to depend on knowing your pumps.  Knowing how they have been operating, reviewing trends in the readings discussed, and understanding the replacement costs.  

PBBS can assist you in all your pumping needs, from pump surveys to replacement recommendations which may result in lower operating and maintenance costs.

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