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10 ways to increase pump efficiency

If you’re a pump user then you’ll want to make sure you get the best performance from your equipment and keep energy costs to a minimum. Here are our ten top tips for increasing pump efficiency.

1. Accurate pump sizing

An incorrectly-sized pump will be subjected to unnecessary wear which inevitably leads to early failure. If your pump is excessively noisy, requires frequent bearing and seal replacement and operates intermittently, it may be sized too large for its purpose. Speak to your pump supplier to identify the right size – they’ll need to know the flow rate, total head, the liquid to be pumped and information on the pump’s power source. There’s more information on pump sizing here.

2. Variable-speed drives

For functions where load demand varies, accurately adjust your pump’s speed by connecting it to a variable-speed drive (VSD). You’ll only use as much power as the application demands, with significant savings achievable: a pump running at 80% speed consumes half the energy of one running at full speed.

3. Seal improvement

Seal failure is the cause of around two thirds of pump failures in many applications. Consider using gas barrier seals, balanced seals or no-contacting labyrinth seals for increased efficiency.

4. Replace belt drives

While the majority of pumps are directly driven, some pumps employ standard V-belts which are susceptible to stretching, slipping, bending and compression. By replacing standard V-belts with cog belts you’ll reduce energy consumption, while swapping for a direct-driven system will offer even greater savings.

5. Proper pipe sizing

Friction losses can occur depending on the diameter and length of pipes plus the nature of the liquid being pumped. Optimising pipework after installation can be very costly, so it’s best to work with your supplier to size pipes at the design stage.

6. Reduce surface roughness

Using castings, coatings or polishing waterways reduces surface roughness and in turn increases energy efficiency. This is usually more economically viable for smaller pumps and savings of around 5% can be achieved.

7. Regular maintenance

A proper programme of regular maintenance will prolong the life of your pump and maintain its energy efficiency. This should include:

  • Bearing inspection and repair
  • Bearing lubrication
  • Impeller checks and replacement
  • Pump/motor alignment checks
  • Inspection and replacement of seals.

8. Performance monitoring

Analysis of pump performance goes hand-in-hand with an effective maintenance programme and can be used to detect and prevent potential problems. Elements to be monitored include wear, vibration, pressure and flow, current and temperature. Keep organised records and take action if you notice data irregularities.

9. Controls

An effective control system will ensure pumps are shut off when not being used or reduce load according to the demands of the application. Advances in technology now allow pumps and other equipment to be controlled remotely, meaning accuracy and energy efficiency can be achieved on isolated or unmanned sites.

10. Avoid throttling

Throttles, or valves, are a traditional way of regulating water flow in pump applications. However, this still means the pump is working harder than it needs to and has been likened to pressing the accelerator in a car whilst braking at the same time. Throttles and valves are extremely inefficient and should be avoided - variable-speed drives offer a modern, economical solution.

As a supplier of pumps in the UK and across the world, we know a thing or two about helping our customers increase efficiency and save money. If you’d like to discuss an order or would like to take advantage of our extensive range of pump services, call Matthew Gibbons on 07970 676272 or email matthew.gibbons@gibbonsgroup.co.uk

Variable-Speed Drives, Panel Building, Pumps & Controls

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