How to start a centrifugal pump after shutdown?
Many facilities shutdown suddenly with little or no notice, whether for emergency or maintenance reasons. This can cause problems when it’s time to start your equipment up again. To make sure you’re ready to start a centrifugal pump, especially after a long shutdown, you need to first check that your spare parts inventory is stocked up and ready.
Here’s a step-by-step process of what to do once you’re ready to inspect your pump:
Check that the pump can spin freely
The most important thing to check is that the pump still spins without issue. Sometimes the pump may contain trapped solids or have mechanical issues from sitting idle – and this is easily detected by checking its spin.
To do this, lockout the pump and remove the coupling guard and shaft. Listen for any noise or rubbing. Spin it by hand and listen carefully. If the pump still doesn’t turn, don’t force it – we’ve seen people use a pipe wrench! Rather take it apart and assess. or use a strap wrench instead of a pipe wrench if required.
Check the condition of the coupling
Now that the coupling guard is off, you might as well assess the overall condition of the coupling. Look for any signs of wear, which could include rubber dust or micro plastics under the coupling. These are usually signs of misalignment, which means you need to align the pump again before starting.
Inspect mechanical seals
Take a closer look at the seals to see if you can detect any signs of leakage. If you can see any flush water to the seal, make sure that you turn the pump on.
Check oil and lubrication levels
Lubrication is key to the proper and safe operation of all pumps and drivers (from electric motors to gears, turbines and more). Check your manufacturer’s guide to find lubrication tips for your chosen centrifugal pump.
Make sure suction and discharge valves are in the right position
Check that suction valves are open. Discharge valves should not be fully open, but 10-15% open.
Ensure your centrifugal pump is primed and vented
Now that your pump’s suction valves are open, liquid should fill the pump and prime it.
Inspect the base
Check the base to make sure that all the mounting bolts are tight. There shouldn’t be any soft feet on the pump or motor. Baseplate pads must be level to within .002” per foot and the maximum level from one end to another should not be greater than 1/32”.
Now that you’ve checked everything to make sure it’s ready, you can start up the pump. Listen for any strange noise or vibration and check to see that the pump is operating smoothly and that bearings aren’t overheating.
That’s it. You’ve now learned how to start a centrifugal pump after shutdown and this handy checklist can be printed out to ensure you do all your checks correctly.
Is your centrifugal pump giving you problems? Give us a call at 1-800-367-4180 (toll-free). As your pump supplier in Ontario, we’re here to help you choose, install, maintain, and monitor a variety of equipment. And to answer questions about things you’ve previously tried gone wrong.