Pump leakage is one of the most common reasons for pump failures and damage. It won’t only increase your tank pump's downtime but can add significant wear and tear on your system.
Today we’ll be going over the signs of these leakage faults as well as the primary causes, so you can accurately identify the fault within your pumping system.
Signs and Effects of Pump Leakage
Not all pump leakage can be easily identified by puddles of oil or liquid on the floor beneath it. Leaks within your pumps can occur both internally and externally, which means you need to be vigilant to prevent and identify these leaks in time before lasting damage is done to your pump.
Signs that your pump is experiencing internal leakage can include increased temperatures, increased noise, system speed reductions and a decreased overall capacity or output.
If your pump is displaying oil mist, oil marks on the ground, or oil dripping from the pump this will likely stem from an external leak.
Primary Causes of Pump Leakage
As outlined before not all leaks will be distinguishable by a puddle of fluid on the floor or any other visible signs and signals. The actual cause of your systems leakage can lead to many factors, one of the most common being the overall wear of your pump, which can be due to age or exposure to various elements. Another issue could be the actual design of your system. If it's been designed poorly or has any manufacturing defects it can result in leakage and overall system failure.
Poor repair, maintenance, or rebuilt workings on your pump system can also trigger leakage, affecting the whole system and its equipment.
Damage or Wear to Seal
The seal on your pump should always be sealed with materials around the shaft. It's perfectly normal for these seals, no matter the material, to wear down due to the friction created between the shaft and seal throughout its use. If your pump has a sealant material that is less likely to wear down throughout this heavy contact it will mean that the life of that seal will be extended.
The biggest challenge is to know exactly when the seal has worn completely down. You don’t want to pay for unnecessary maintenance or replace the sealant too early when you can still get a good few hours of operation on it. By monitoring the drain flow of your pump, you can minimise the risk of sudden failure and have more control of the time between repairs and maintenance. You can also monitor the seal’s condition manually (with a bucket and stopwatch) or with a digital flow meter.
Your pump seal will need fluids to lubricate the material and compartments around it. If there’s not enough lubrication or fluid within the system, it will produce a dry system that will create more friction and heat. If left untreated the seal can burn or melt and become damaged, which will cause a leakage due to the high pressure within the system. Even a few seconds of dry running can cause heat cracks or blisters, which leads to a leaking pump shaft seal.
Shocks and Vibration
If your pump is running with a large number and force of shocks or vibrations it can lead to an unaligned system and a higher chance of leaks. By working past the pump's best point of efficiency it can reduce the seal's lifetime. If your pump has to deal with heavy-duty conditions, make sure your seal can handle above-average axial and radial play
Pressure Drops or Spikes
If your pump experiences frequent pressure drops or spikes its lifetime and durability will be shortened. This sudden change in operating conditions can lead to an increased risk of leaking. If your pump uses rubber lip seals, there will still be an increased risk but it won't be as significant as other types of seals.