The Ill-Fated Pump

The Ill-Fated Pump

Feb. 19, 2018


Where to start…  There are a few issues that come to mind when looking at this photo.  The first is the wet spot on the floor beside it.  It may be a pump leak, or it could be a leak from the piping or roof above it.  Hard to tell from just this photo, but certainly worth a closer look.  If it is a process leak, what exactly is leaking?  It could be something as easy to fix as a leaking gasket, or it could be a crack or pitted pipe, or a mechanical seal that is about to fail.  If it was a larger pump with a stuffing box with packing, it could be that the packing was leaking too much (it needs to drip a little to properly lubricate the packing, but too much is a waste).  The bottom line is, leaks don’t typically get better by themselves.  This warrants a closer look and a scheduled repair.

Another issue:  The electrical connection.  It appears that the connection to the motor is failing as well.  The exposed conductors, if allowed to rub against the connected could eventually short out.  This appears to be a relatively easy fix, but one with significant consequences if not addressed.

Looking at the orientation of the pump and motor to the concrete pad upon which it appears to rest seems to indicate another problem.  Typically, equipment is pretty squarely aligned with its base, but that isn’t the case here.  Looking closer at the motor mounts, it doesn’t appear that there are even any bolts holding the motor down!  It appears that the motor is being completely supported by the pump that it is driving.  Needless to say, this is not ideal. 

The over-arching theme here is that it appears that this pump does not seem to be getting the maintenance attention that it needs.  This is a classic “run to failure” scenario, and at some point, it will fail. What happens next?  It depends.  Based on the pipe insulation, it appears that this is a chilled water pump, so at the very least, the air conditioning for this building would be effected.  Perhaps worse.  Don’t let your mechanical systems get to this point.  An effective maintenance management program will keep this equipment running reliably longer and will decrease the chance of an unwelcome surprise failure.

There are likely even more issues here.  Can you spot them?  Post them in the comments on LinkedIn or Facebook.