Submersible pumps that have persistent reliability problems can often be attributed to an oversight in their installation. Submersible pumps require careful installation because they are installed in tanks or pits, which makes it difficult to reach them.
Here are six quick tips to safely install and maintain submersible pumps. Here are the basics.
1. Plan for falls or electrical accidents to prevent serious injury from wet wells
Although this should be obvious, it is worth repeating. Before performing maintenance, shut down all energy sources and secure them. OSHA reports that proper lockout/tagout procedures prevent 120 deaths and 50,000 injuries each year.
Many pumps have automatic thermal overload protection that may allow overheated pumps to start unexpectedly. Before you attempt to repair the pump, make sure there is no power.
Falling around tanks and wet wells is a real risk, especially in the winter months. Fall protection safety procedures should be used when working near tanks or wet wells. These could include railings, access cover falls, arrest nets or cages or a body harness with lanyard. You can also check for pumps here- aw-pump.com
2. Submersible pumps should never be installed on a soft or loose bottom
Permanently installed submersible pumps should be mounted on a base elbow that has a rail system for retrieval. Installing the pump on a solid foundation is good for its long-term health and also for the operators’ long-term health.
To ensure safety, operators must have the appropriate training and protective equipment. Operators do not have to be present at the well to remove pumps from it using guide rails.
Use stainless steel hardware and anchors. Securely anchor the base elbow. To ensure that the rails are aligned, use a midrail (or intermediate), adapter if your tank or wet well is more than 20 feet deep. You should remove all slack from the pump cords and secure them tight so that they don’t get sucked into your pump.
Make sure the basin and pit can support the weight of the guide rail and pump.
3. Refer to the reference pump/motor nameplate to determine correct phase and voltage, and to make the proper power connections
Verify that the nameplate, voltage, phase and HP ratings of the pump match those in the control box. An incorrect voltage or phase can lead to motor and control fires, as well as damage to the pump’s warranty.
4. Before you commission the pump, make sure to check the rotation
Inadvertently installing a pump can cause the impeller to run backward. This problem is common when installing a new pump, motor or starter, as well as adding a VFD.
To check the motor rotation, do not put your hands in the suction pump.
To ensure that the shaft is turning in the correct direction, pump installation professionals perform a “bump testing”. To check the direction of shaft rotation, the bump test involves the technician turning the pump on and off quickly.
The impeller should be viewed from the top. It should move in a clockwise direction. An electrician can correct an impeller that is turning in the wrong direction with a three phase motor by switching any two power leads.
5. Never try to lift a pump using its electric cord.
The pump can be damaged by being lifted, carried, or hung from an electrical cable. Broken cables can lead to shock, burns, and even death.
Instead, use the lifting points in the submersible pumps to lift. Proper rigging gear should be used and a properly sized chain should be attached to the designated points on the pump.
6. Only check the oil level after the pump has cooled down to ambient temperature
The seal oil could be under pressure if the submersible pump was operating hot. Don’t remove any plates, covers or gauges from a hot pump. These parts can be ejected by a lot of force if there is vapour pressure in the pump.
When installing a submersible pump, wet wells and tanks can add complexity. To protect yourself and those around you, use a lot of caution. Call a professional trained in submersible pump installation if your team members are not experienced in this area.