5 Ways To Ruin The Energy Efficiency Of Your Pump

Choosing and running an efficient pump for your needs has gained a lot of attention from an energy perspective in recent years. There are several ways to do this. If you’re getting started on your journey to greater energy efficiency, there are a few general no-nos. Let’s get started looking at those.

A pump system is made up of the pump itself, a driver, pipes, controls like ASDs and throttles and the larger motor system that it’s a part of. You need to keep an eye on all of these components for efficiency. Here are a few things that you might be doing wrong if your energy efficiency is not where you want it to be.

1. Poor Maintenance

When a pump is improperly maintained, you are putting more stress on it and are likely to see it wear out quicker. To keep your pump running in top condition, inspect and maintain your impellers, the bearing, the lubricant you use, the mechanical seals and the alignment to the motor. “Typical energy savings for operations and maintenance are estimated to be between 2% and 7% of pumping electricity use for the US industry. The payback usually is less than one year.”1

2. No Monitoring or Controls

Along with proper maintenance, putting in place a monitoring program can further increase your energy efficiency. When you monitor, you spot blockages, any adjustments to clearances you need to make, leaks, build up of contaminants, damage to parts like the impeller and problems with suction. When you add control to the mix, your efficiency gets a huge boost. Controls include putting automation in place to shut off any pumps that are not actively in use.

3. Using A Less Efficient Or Improperly Sized Pump For Your Needs

Pumps lose efficiency as they age. Experts have said over the years that this might have less to do with how old the pump is and more to do with the fact that the pump might not exactly match the application it’s being used for. Pumps are available for different pressure and flow rate capacities and choosing the pump that works for your needs is usually the biggest saving you’ll see on your energy prices. In some cases, when your pump is timeworn, upgrading to a new pump, while a capital expenditure, will bring you considerable savings (up to 10%)2 since newer models are much more energy efficient. A pump is considered incorrectly sized for the operation at hand if it has a flow rate variance of more than 30% from its best efficiency point.

4. Not Using Multiple Pumps For Varying Loads

When you have varying loads, using multiple pumps is perhaps the most energy efficient solution. Parallel pumps are reliable, and when they are installed for highly variable loads, it results in massive savings of between 10% and 50% of the electricity consumption for pumping for the US industry.3

5. Poor Sealing

Improper or failed sealing is the biggest contributor to inefficient operations. When seals break, pumps pull in more energy to perform. Different types of seals are available to optimize pump efficiency, depending on the application at hand.