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5 common pump problems and their causes

Pumps provide an essential service and are used in a huge number of domestic and commercial applications, so a faulty pump is inconvenient and can lead to costly downtime. Here we diagnose five of the most common pump problems.

Excessive noise and/or vibration

If you’re familiar with the state of your pump during normal operation, you’ll notice if it begins to make unusual or excessive noise or vibration. This is a symptom of mechanical problems such as shaft misalignment, worn bearings and loose couplings. Regular pump maintenance is key to spotting problems at an early stage, before they develop into major issues which may cause a failure.

Loss of suction

The effects of suction loss range from a minor problem to a complete equipment failure, so if your pump has lost suction it’s important to deactivate it until you’ve found the cause. Ascertain why fluid isn’t reaching the pumping elements full stop, or at a high enough rate to keep it moving through the pump. Also check whether your pump needs to be primed, as pumps cannot move air or vapour. Submersible pumps, by their very nature are self-priming as they’re submerged in the liquid being pumped, but centrifugal pumps will need to be primed before operation.

Loss of flow

Consider whether the substance being pumped has altered at all, as loss of flow may be due to excessive discharge pressure or a change in fluid viscosity. In addition, although it seems obvious, the direction of shaft rotation dictates flow, so if this has been reversed then so will the flow.

Seal leakage

If there’s a discharge of fluid from seals, it may be that they’re incorrectly sized for the pump. Seal failure may simply be down to normal wear over time, but it can also be due to cavitation, excessive discharge pressure or the presence of unwanted solids. Seals should be checked as part of a thorough routine maintenance programme.

Excessive power consumption

By keeping records of your pump’s power consumption you’ll notice when your equipment begins to demand more electricity. This normally occurs as a result of mechanical faults including bearing failure, poor shaft alignment and abrasion between pump elements. Also bear in mind that the liquid to be pumped must match the equipment as a fluid that’s too viscous may cause the pump to work harder than it’s designed to and eventually overload.

Whether you’re looking to buy a new pump or have an existing pump serviced or repaired, Gibbons is your go-to provider. We stock a comprehensive range of pumps including those from industry leaders Lowara. Our selection includes submersible pumps, sewage pumps, swimming pool pumps and self-priming pumps, all available with next-day UK delivery if required.

If you’d prefer to have your pump repaired, our expert engineers are on hand to get your equipment up and running in no time. If a broken pump puts your process out of action and you need an urgent repair or replacement, we offer a 24-hour emergency service.

For more information on Gibbons’ pump products and services, call Matthew on 07970 676272 or email

Pumps & Controls

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