What Can Gauges Tell You About Your Centrifugal Pump?

A gauge is one of the best ways to troubleshoot when your centrifugal pump isn’t quite working as it should, or simply isn’t operating at optimal efficiency. Here are 6 things a gauge can tell you about the state of your centrifugal pump, so you can stay on top of problems before they occur and save on expensive downtime.

1) The Total Dynamic Head (TDH)
The Total Dynamic Head (TDH) is the total height that the fluid is to be pumped, taking friction into account. If water is the fluid, TDH is the difference between the inlet and outlet of the pump when measured at the same elevation. You will notice that there is a high reading on the discharge gauge if TDH is too high, and a low reading if TDH is too low.

2) Why Your Pump Isn’t Running
If the pump is not running, you can perform a static reading to discover if there is a suction leak. A suction leak is when one of your pipes is sucking in air rather than water. Check the length of the pipe to make sure that all fittings are airtight. There could also be a discharge check valve problem. This might occur when the valve is shut and the pressure generated is not enough to overcome the shut valve.

3) If your pump has a plugged suction line
If you have a plugged or clogged suction line, the vacuum gauge reads very high. Clear the suction line of debris, otherwise you’ll have low flow out of the pump.

4) The pressure of your self-priming pump
For self-priming pumps, the gauge can provide unique information such as whether there is enough pressure before the pump comes to prime. Should your pump not be able to dispel air from inside the pump, create a low-pressure area at the impeller eye, or be improperly sized, failure to prime is an inevitable result.

5) The pump’s ability to pull a vacuum
Gauges allow for a maximum vacuum test, which provides information on the centrifugal or self-priming pump’s ability to pull a vacuum. Low vacuum is an indicator of trouble on other parts of the machine, which must be attended to immediately.

6) Whether vortexing or entrained air is occurring
Gauges allow you to determine if vortexing is occurring, which is an issue that all centrifugal pumps experience. This problem refers to when water is drawn into a suction line and a depression then forms in the water. The vortex can lead to the pump entraining air because the pump will want to pump air, since this is easier to pump than water. This can cause the pump to operate less efficiently. With vortexing or entrained air, gauge readings will be lower than normal and vibrating.

Gauges will only provide accurate readings if they are properly installed, so make sure your pump is fitted with the right gauge and that gauge taps are as close to the pump inlet and outlet as possible.

By using gauges to provide enough information, you will be able to make sure that your pump is highly efficient, while prolonging its lifespan. If you have any questions about gauges and implementation, please call our toll-free number 1-800- 367-4180. We have experts on hand to help you choose, install, and maintain a variety of equipment.