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What Problems Does One Face With Water Pumps?

The Problems of Water Pumps?

In general, water pumps are reliable machines. But despite their proven reliability and robustness, they may fail at times.

There are eight common reasons a water pump may malfunction or break down.

When the Water Pump is Badly Sealed

The most commonly identifiable cause for failing pumps is faulty seals. A water pump can show inefficiency because of:

  • Inappropriate sealing
  • Damaged seals
  • Misaligned gasket

Also, the mounting surface of the pump may experience leakage on account of improper installation.
More often than not, the installer uses the O-ring or seal recommended by the manufacturer. Next, it is supplemented by a sealing paste or gasket set, even when unnecessary. Sometimes, old re-used seals can also make things worse.

When the gasket is covered with excess sealant, it seeps into the shaft of the pump and coolant system. This can also lead to seal failure in a split second.

The sealing issue can be resolved by using seals suggested by the manufacturer. The seal needs to be properly applied. Also, enough must be allowed for the seal to dry.

When the Water Pump is Leaking

It is considered one of the most commonly occurring problems. Water leakage from a pump can happen due to a number of reasons, usually, when the pump unit breaks down or wears away with time. The leakage situation can spread and worsen further when the pump becomes exposed to various contaminants, for example, bacteria or molds.

In general, it is easy to detect leaks and their symptoms. A leaking water pump will exhibit a lot of struggle to work correctly. At times, it may toil harder for pumping the basic, minimum quantity of water. A pool of water accumulating near the pump may also come to your notice. Even you may find out water to spring out from the motor while it is in operation.

These are the most discernible symptoms that call for urgent intervention to repair and make certain the water pump is back to normal functioning.

At the very outset, you need to carry out a number of tests to make sure that the condition of the water pump and the associated leakage issue are not very serious. In most instances, you will need an expert to handle these scrutiny tests. Next, the expert will work towards replacing the leaking areas or patching them up. This is required to keep the water pump run safely.

Even though it is always a decent idea to take the service of a professional in doing these complicated tasks, still at least, the patching thing is one that you can do all by yourself.

When the Water Pump is Clogged

It may be noted that the problem of a water pump getting clogged is not as common as leaks. Yet, every now and then, they still keep occurring. In many situations, the clogging problem grows over time without showing any obvious symptoms. But, all of a sudden, you may find your pump to have stopped flowing water.

Potential warning signs of a developing clog generally include the incident of the force of the water gradually slowing down. Also, you may come across tiny pieces of debris in the water. This debris is nothing but bits of disintegrated clog.

As far as well water pumps are concerned, clogs are very difficult to manage and fix. This is primarily because of the complexities in their design. For instance, a well water pump employs many pipes that entangle the whole unit. It can be very hard for you to sort out the mesh and take a look at the pump.

So, amid such circumstances, you need to get in touch with a professional as early as possible. This will set the seal on getting the most effective results when your pump needs repair or maintenance.

Fortunately, when it comes to clogging issues, prevention is always a better and easier approach. With the help of a mesh cover, you can secure the ends of the pipes comprising the whole water pump. This will prevent the entry of any form of debris or grease within the pump.

Also, the filter of the water pump needs to be regularly checked to make sure it is not obstructed by any debris. This is one important check you should not overlook in the course of the maintenance process.

When the Valves of the Water Pump are Malfunctioning

The valves constitute the most important components of a water pump. They help control the flow of water. But, these parts too, are at risk of potential malfunction. And, if that happens, the overall efficiency of your water pump goes for a toss.

In a few severe situations, the valves may experience total failure. Then it becomes extremely difficult to detect the underlying cause and solve it.

Various factors can play a role in causing valve-centric problems. Because of constant wear and tear, a water pump may weaken over time. As a result, its valves become less effective. Weak, inefficient valves can bring about many other problems such as water leakage or total mechanical breakdown.

Undoubtedly, the latter problem is more difficult to curb, especially, if your valves are left unattended without any maintenance or assessment over time.

To carry out valve maintenance, you need to call on professionals. They will thoroughly inspect your water pump and its valves and see to it they run without a hitch. Usually, valves need regular lubrication to operate smoothly.

The professionals also have the experience to spot any minor damage, for instance, tiny cracks on the valve surface, and repair them. It is important that you compare notes with a water pump repair specialist prior to carrying out this procedure. The main objective is to get the best, workable solution.

When the Distance Between the Pump and the Water Source is too Long

With the increasing distance of the water pump from the actual source, there will be a reciprocal diminution in the water flow rate. This happens because, when the water source is very far away, extra power will be needed to suck in water instead of discharging it. This, in turn, reduces the flow rate.

Usually, the ideal distance between water pumps and the source should be no more than 20 feet. Also, the higher the pump, the lesser will be the flow rate even at shorter distances. This behavior depends on the unique topography of the place where the pump is placed. Every pump has its own specifications. So go through them and operate it within limits.

When There is an Obstruction in the Intake Line

It is common knowledge that the flow rate will be reduced because of any impedance. Any blockage developed because of debris accumulation is a frequently occurring problem. As the blockage intensifies, the water gets murkier. Then, it becomes difficult to locate the intake hose. But, you must check and ensure no debris obstructing the intake.

Usually, the blockage occurs in the filter. This is because the filter is mainly responsible to protect the pump from any damage. To normalize, get rid of the debris and reinstate the hose to rebegin pumping water.

Occasionally, the intake filter itself can be the culprit. This is a possibility when you do not find the presence of any debris. So, you need to ensure the filter has enough fineness to prevent solid particles from invading the pump and damaging it. But, if the filter is too fine and delicate, it will inhibit water flow right at the intake entry point. Be certain that the filter is a proper match for the water pump.

When the Motor of the Water Pump is Improperly Connected

This is especially true in the case of a centrifugal water pump. It is designed with a built-in impeller programmed to move in only one direction. On the off chance, the impeller moves in the opposite direction, what you can expect is an improper operation of the water pump.

Such a malfunction can arise because of the wrong electrical connection to the motor. In this scenario, you need to check how the motor is set up. You may follow the user manual to gather instructions and make sure the connections are correctly done.

When the Water Pump Suffers From a Cavitation Problem

A cavitation scenario is one wherein:
The net positive suction head available (NPSHA) < net positive suction head required (NPSHR)

Many times, easy fixes to this problem include:

  • Increasing the suction tank’s water level
  • Making minor adjustments in the suction system

But, sadly, such easy fixes can be seldom resorted to because of their impracticality. More commonly, the solution lies in:

  • Fully redesigning the suction system
  • Opting for a hydraulic rerating of the water pump
  • Carrying out a total pump replacement

While doing these assessments, you may tend to miss inspecting the condition of wear rings. But this should not be the case. Note that a pump’s NPSHR is directly proportional to the clearance level of wear rings.

If you increase ring clearance, NPSHR increases, and vice versa. Old pumps working for many years start showing cavitation issues mainly because of the deteriorating condition of their wear rings.

The answer to this problem lies in upgrading wear rings. You can reduce wear ring clearance by a drastic 50 percent of API610 minimum settings. Consequently, the NPSHR of the pump also drops sharply.

The extent to which the change happens depends on the specific water pump speed. The percentage of significant improvement in performance is given by a measure of the pump’s ability in achieving suction during startup.


Water pumps are essential for a variety of purposes. They help remove water from a job site, carry out irrigation in the fields, or are used for other purposes. And, the low flow rate can be a serious concern. To avoid this problem, regularly monitoring and maintaining your equipment are needed. The steps mentioned above will find a solution to low flow rates. And, in case you are unable to detect why a water pump is poorly performing, take help from professionals.