By Tom Stephan
Demand for constant, reliable water flow and pressure in structures such as hotels, office complexes and other commercial applications requires pressure boosting equipment. Increasing the water pressure enables transportation of water throughout high-rise buildings.
Pressure boosting systems are available in various system configurations, each offering different advantages and characteristics including comfort level, initial investment cost, running costs, flexibility and supply assurance. Most modern constant water pressure systems come ready to install with the pump, motor and controller already assembled and fully programmed. Units are designed for easy installation (mounting either vertically or horizontally), enabling the system to work with existing plumbing configurations.
THE NEED FOR PROFESSIONAL INSTALLERS ROUTINE SERVICE EXTENDS PUMP LIFE
Despite the ease of installation, installing constant pressure systems is not a do-it yourself job. Because of the multitude of complex electronics in pressure booster systems, it is a job for professional installers who are typically licensed, certified, and educated on installation and the latest technologies. Some product manufacturers offer ongoing training to professional contractors. Pressure booster systems, like most equipment, require periodic maintenance.
Unfortunately, many facilities that rely on booster pumps forgo regular qualified maintenance, leaving essential tasks to on-site maintenance and repair teams who may not have the skills, tools and expertise to properly maintain pumps or detect when something is wrong before it’s too late.
Regular service helps keep booster pump systems in good working order and reduces the likelihood of breakdowns. When caught early, repairs may be minor. In contrast, underperforming equipment that isn’t repaired in a timely manner may develop critical problems that require more time and money to resolve.
Ignoring the need for minor repair may damage a pump or require replacement before reaching the end of its expected service life. When booster pumps fail, the result can be extremely disruptive for building users, with water pressure falling and, in some cases, water supplies being cut off completely.
Routine service and maintenance can add years to the lifespan of booster pump systems and minimize the risk of breakdown. Booster pump systems should be serviced by a professional service technician annually to reduce the risk of unexpected breakdown; increase efficiency of the pump; improve building user satisfaction; reduce noise and vibration from the pump; and finally, lower overall maintenance costs.
Booster pump maintenance checklist
Before carrying out any pump maintenance or visual checks, consult the pump manufacturer’s supply manual. This checklist should be carried out on a monthly basis:
- Visual inspection of the shaft seal for any leakage
- Visual inspection of the pump’s pressure and discharge gauges, any abnormal readings should be assessed
- Check the pump’s foundation to ensure the frame is secure – tighten any loose bolts. If this is a reoccurring problem, it could be a sign of excessive vibration
- Check vital components of the pump for rust or other degradation
Staying a step ahead
Most booster pump systems today are equipped with smart pump technology to continually monitor pump performance and alert facility managers to any potential issues.
Additionally, condition monitoring devices provide health guidance and predictive maintenance advice for rotating fixed assets such as pumps and motors. Using predictive analysis, the technology identifies potential problems with pumps or motors before they occur, enhancing system reliability.
Condition monitoring devices periodically monitor system vibration and temperature and allow users to access simple-to-use monitoring tools from iOS or Android mobile devices. This enables operators to understand the current health and historical trends of assets, create maintenance reminders and generate detailed reports. As a result, preventive maintenance can be scheduled before potential issues cause downtime. Condition monitoring devices are also useful support tools when commissioning a pump and troubleshooting.
With proper installation and regular preventive maintenance, the booster pump systems will have a longer life and ensure consistent water pressure for building occupants.
In addition to regular maintenance, professional service technicians should be called if these issues arise:
- Excessive vibration from the pump
- Excessive noise being created by the pump
- Low water pressure
- No water pressure
- Leaking from piping or pump unit
- Sudden increase in energy bills
- Regular service helps keep booster pump systems in good working order and reduces the likelihood of breakdowns.
- Those responsible for the care and ongoing maintenance of a booster pump system should aim for annual service
- Professional service technicians help ensure a long life for booster pump systems.
- Before carrying out any pump maintenance or visual checks, consult the pump manufacturer’s supply manual.
- Booster pump systems equipped with smart pump technology continually monitor pump performance and alert facility managers to any potential issues.
- Condition monitoring devices provide health guidance and predictive maintenance advice for rotating fixed assets such as pumps and motors.
Tom Stephan is the training manager for Goulds Water Technology Factory School.