Centrifugal Pump Installation: Methods and Precautions

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Centrifugal Water pump for home and residential usePublished on October 15, 2020

In today’s era, everyone desires a contemporary home design with exclusive interior and delicate architectural design. Homeowners are building underground water tanks to keep the outdoor beauty intact. Hence, they fail to acknowledge whether the system supports electrical and plumbing work. With innovative plumbing solutions, you don’t have to worry about such problems. Centrifugal pumps can readily transfer fluids from the ground level to every pipe and water tank in the house.

It comprises the rotating impeller that moves water by centrifugal force from one location to another. Whether you have a well or pressure tank, you can install these pumps anywhere to ensure smooth water supply. These pumps can handle fluids with adjustable flow rates over a wide range since it is a hydraulic machine. Alongside supplying water to homes, these pumps are famous in almost every industry. From food processing, power plants, turbines, mining, to pharmaceuticals, you can spot them everywhere.

While most pumps are for water supply, a centrifugal pump offer multiple benefits. People can use it for draining sewage, petroleum, and chemicals. After all, its straightforward design and functions make everyone’s life easy. These pumps require any moving parts, nor need you to insert additional check valves – leading to an effortless installation process.

Are you thinking of getting a centrifugal pump? Before delving into the installation process, learn about the main components. It will help you understand where every part belongs.

Main Components of Centrifugal Pump

At first glance, this pump might seem like a puzzle to you. But if you know the picture, you can readily fit the pieces together. Here are the four main components of centrifugal pumps and their uses.

  • Impeller: It is a wheel inside the pump. It is on a narrow handle; aligning with an energy source causes rotation in the impeller when the pump operates. The impellers have three types: open, half-closed, or enclosed, but each serves the same purpose.
  • Delivery Pipe: Although these pumps have many pipes, you must locate the delivery pipe. It is at the lower edge of the pump outlet. This pipe transports the water to a suitable height as it comprises a valve that manages the pump’s water flow.
  • Casing: Find the pipe connected to the impeller’s eye as it lifts the fluid. The end of the casing pipe has a foot valve and strainer, helping push the water upwards.
  • Suction Pipe: One side of the pipe is joint to the impeller while the other goes inside the water tank. It touches the water and helps it move in a single direction. The suction pipe has a built-in strainer to filter out dirt, debris, and other waste components in the water.

How to Install Centrifugal Pump?

With a keen understanding of the pump’s components, the installation would be super manageable. After all, we have done all the legwork for you. Here is a simple guide to help you with the entire installation process.

  1. Go Through Installation Instructions

Once you get your hands on a centrifugal pump, you would come across a list of the operation maintenance manual. Usually, the manual comes with the pump, but download one from the internet if it is not there. Before jumping to the installation part, read the manual thoroughly. It consists of all information about pump installation and maintenance protocols. Remember, if you don’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions rigorously, it can void the pump’s warranty.

  1. Inspect the Pump

Next up, you have to inspect the pump visually to identify potential glitches. It will let you fix the technical faults beforehand, avoiding any disruptions during the installation process. You can either use the manufacturer’s inspection list or else feel free to follow this one.

  • Run a mini-water test to ensure none of the seals are leaking, and guards in place since those tiny holes are not readily visible.
  • Inspect for the placement of the pump by using a machine leveler.
  • Terminate all electrical connections as you would be working with wires and cables in the installation process.
  • Lastly, assess the lubricant level and cross-check the seal.
  1. Foundation & Mounting

Every centrifugal pump installation process starts with a solid foundation. It should be potent enough to form a ‘level and rigid’ support for the pump. Similarly, the bolts have to be of the right size to embed correctly into the base plate. If even one bolt seems loose, get your hands on a pipe sleeve. It is 2.5 meters bigger than the bolts, letting you align the position of bolts.

After this, you have to position the unit on the foundation and mount the pump base. You can use metal shims as they ensure the pump shaft’s vertical placement with the suction pipe. Thus, all the discharge flags are level in both – horizontal and vertical planes. Otherwise, you can use a plumb line from the floor to develop the pump’s centerline and bearings. Moreover, if you are installing this pump in an industrial location, lay a standard base plate to close doors for any misalignment in the future.

  1. Ensure Field Alignment

Are you familiar with couplings? In the plumbing world, it is a tool to connect shafts with parallel or angular misalignment. During pump installation, you have to ensure it has enough spacing not to strike each other. Unfortunately, a general idea or blind guess doesn’t work here. You have to get some tools – taper gauge and set of feeler gauges to check the alignment. If you are a perfectionist, mind getting a dial indicator since this the most reliable measurement tool. Once you complete the preliminary alignment, tighten the bolts evenly with adequate pressure. If you are placing it beside water well, make sure it doesn’t damage its foundation.

  1. Join the Pipes

Next up, you have to fix the unevenness in the foundation, if any. Build a form around the base plate that can contain the grout and sprinkle some water. With a solid foundation, you can start joining the pipes, but you have to be particular about it. All the piping practices directly affect the efficiency and power consumption of the pump. Hence, pay attention to every insignificant detail. Firstly, provide independent support to the suction and discharge pipe by using hangers or support blocks.

It keeps away the excessive burden on the pump joints and casing to maintain its durability. Start by connecting the suction pump and lay it with a gradual incline. If the pipe is level, it might form air pockets, meaning you have to keep it a little high. Simultaneously, discharge piping should be big enough to avoid frictional loss. Install the check valves with these pipes to protect the pump against excessive surge pressure and reversed rotation.

  1. Connect Wiring

Handling electrical cables and wires is not a piece of cake. Therefore, turn off the power supply and ensure motor wiring conforms to the national electrical codes. Instead of picking random wires, use adequate sizes to avoid voltage fluctuations. Likewise, connect the electrical supply from the switch to the motor and check the electrical current supply frequency. If possible, put the pump on a separate circuit or breaker protected with a manual disconnect. It eliminates all threats of electric currents and line faults.

  1. Check Rotation

At times, the rotation direction is not accurate, primarily if the pump operates backward or in reverse rotation. Thus, inspect the appropriate cycle of three motor phases before assembling the base. If the movement seems odd, interchange the lead wires until the motor starts rotating correctly. After this, install the pump by making a permanent ground connection to the unit. You can use a conductor or a grounded lead in the service panel to fix the pump.

  1. Prime & Start the Pump

Before connecting the pump with a water tank or well, consider vacuum priming to suck the air. Now, you can connect with the tank but close the valve in the discharge pipe. Wait for the motor to approach full speed and then open the valve to check the pressure levels. You can see if it is working efficiently with your existing water system alongside filling the discharge pipe. Moreover, don’t skip the periodic pump servicing to maintain the machinist level in an excellent condition.

Precautions & Safety Tips

Unsurprisingly, centrifugal pumps are popular in domestic and industrial settings. Although it comes in different shapes and sizes, they all work at high velocity and pressure. People are dealing with massive water; thus, it is imperative to take the necessary precautions to avoid accidents. Here are five safety tips that you must follow during the installation process.

  • Manage Overheating: Excessive overheating in the pump can damage internal components while causing severe injuries and burns to anyone standing near the pump. Leave the suction pipe and discharge line open during operations to ensure the pump receives enough air. If still overheating occurs, stop the pump and allow it cool from time to time.
  • Check of Air Leaks: If the water pressure is getting slower with every passing day, check pipes for air leaks. You can use a vacuum gauge as the reading will display the vertical distance, telling if the lines are airtight or not. The vacuum gauge readings will also indicate the worn-out suction flap valve, seals, and hose.
  • Replace Worn-out Components: After some time, you would see worn bearings, wobbling pump shafts, and a lot of noise coming from the pump. If you see any similar signs, immediately replace them to avert catastrophic damage to the pump.
  • Perform a Shut-Off Test: Every six months, you have to perform a shut-off test to inspect the pump’s internal wear. Connect the pump, operate it on the maximum capacity, and begin discharging the valve to record the readings. If everything is working fine, the indications would be equal to the pump’s performance.

Wrapping Up:

Centrifugal pumps have always been in the spotlight due to its usage in every industry. You can find them in dairy farms, utility companies, construction, production lines, and homes. Alongside providing high water pressure, they can treat drinking and wastewater. If you want to get one, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for centrifugal pump installation as they understand the system’s strengths and weaknesses. Once you follow the correct installation steps with precautions, your pump will be all set for operation.

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