10 Tips for Safer Centrifugal Pump Operation

Centrifugal pumps are widely used across many different industries. They are dependable, versatile and provide excellent performance when running right. Safety is always a major concern with any industrial pump system—especially when it comes to centrifugal pumps.

With this in mind, DXP Cortech offers these 10 basic tips to help operate your centrifugal pump as safely as possible:

  1. Follow Instructions
    This is always the number one rule that is sadly ignored much of the time. Every pump will come with an operating manual and specific safety guidelines. Even if you bought the pump used, you should be able to find this information online or get it from the original manufacturer. Read the instructions carefully and follow all the recommended installation, configuration, maintenance and repair steps to ensure safe and reliable operation.
  2. Routine Component Checks
    Internal components in any pump need to be maintained properly and inspected regularly. Check for worn parts like seals, bearings and fittings—components that can commonly fail and cause major safety issues. Make these inspections part of your regular maintenance routine.
  3. Monitor the Temperature
    One of the biggest failure concern with any centrifugal pump is overheating. When this happens, it is bad for the pump and can be a significant safety hazard. Monitor the running temperature of the pump carefully and take precautions. Do what you can to prevent overheating and have a plan in place for what to do when the pump does overheat and fail.
  4. Maintain Accessibility
    When installing your centrifugal pump system, make sure that it is accessible. Keep access panels and components that need to be regularly inspected and maintained easy to get to. This way, you can take care of maintenance more efficiently and access important parts of the pump in case emergencies arise.
  5. Increase Pump Training
    Obviously, only experienced personnel should be operating your centrifugal pump system. Make sure any employee is properly trained for pump monitoring, maintenance and safety. Don’t take any chances when it comes to pump safety training.
  6. Use the Pump as Intended
    Not all pumps are created equal, and most are designed to operate in a specific manner. Some pumps are better for certain applications than others. It’s important to select the proper pump for the job and configure it correctly for the application. If you try to push pump equipment beyond its designed capabilities, it can be a recipe for disaster!
  7. Always Check the Lines
    As part of your pump maintenance and inspection routines, you will also want to check all the input and discharge ports and lines. Make sure there is no blockage, repair any leaks and fix any weak connection points. If the lines are clogged or causing lost pressure, it can do serious damage to the pump itself. This leads to breakdowns and safety concerns.
  8. Perform a Shut-Off Test
    One diagnostic we recommend is called a shut-off test. It is a good way to inspect components and identify internal wear. Start the pump and get it up to full flow. Slowly close the discharge valve and monitor the discharge and suction gauge reading. If everything is operating properly, the reading should match the pump performance maximum pressure at zero flow.
  9. Routine Maintenance
    Never neglect the basic maintenance required by the pump equipment. You should have a detailed maintenance plan in place that keeps the pump system operating efficiently. A healthier pump that is working right will naturally reduce your safety concerns.
  10. No Problem is Too Small
    Last but not least, you have to remember that there is no such thing as a small pump problem. Any minor concern can easily turn into a major issue if left ignored. If anything is causing your pump system to run inefficiently or there are any signs of damage (smoke, leaking air or fluid, strange noises, bad smells, etc.), you should inspect the pump carefully and perform repairs as needed.

These are just a few helpful tips to keep your centrifugal pump running well while keeping your plant (and your employees) safer. Pump safety is very important. For help with selecting and configuring a pump for your specific application, as well as operation and safety training from top pump experts, contact DXP Cortech today.