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Thread: pump issues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Two Harbors, MN, USA
    Posts
    40

    pump issues

    Recently, I had my centrifugal brewhouse pump (Top-Flo C114) start to leak slowly (drip, but not all the time). While running it at slow speeds (vfd) the flow of water would nearly stop. It happened during last two brew days while mashing in. All I would have to do was hit the stop and start to regain normal flow, but would only last for a few minutes before having to repeat the stop/start procedure. To further confuse, it did not happen at slow operation during run-off.

    Today the leak was a steady stream, so I pulled it apart to tighten things back up. O-ring and gaskets look good. When I started the pump back up, there was no leaking. High speed operation seems fine, but now the slow speed is non-existent. Like mentioned above the pump is operated on a VFD control, and is in the first year of operation (45 brews), with all cip included. What is life expectancy on these pumps? I am ordering a pump kit asap, and I am also going to disassemble and try again. Any other ideas?
    Beer lovers make better drinkers, and vice versa.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Blowing Rock NC
    Posts
    74
    My guess is you just need a new seal kit. In your case it looks like an internal type of seal and I would suggest the viton type, better with heat and chemicals than buna. If you are using the pump for high temperatures like knock out, whirlpool and cip, then you are lucky to get 1 year out of a seal set. We always kept an extra set around. We recently replaced our pump with one that has an external seal as the manufacturer thought it would withstand the temperature better. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    814
    Seal face is gone. It only needs a tiny 'nick' to leak. When you replace it, make sure you dip your hands in some sunlight/ivory liquid soapy water and handle the seal with soapy hands. The oil from your fingers can be very bad on the seal face.

    Pax.

    Liam
    Liam McKenna
    www.yellowbellybrewery.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Two Harbors, MN, USA
    Posts
    40
    Thanks for the replies, I ordered two of the viton pump kits. I Will also use the soapy water trick, thanks for the tip.
    Beer lovers make better drinkers, and vice versa.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    80
    Not so sure it's the seal. You said it wasn't leaking after you put it back together. In any case you should always have a spare seal kit handy. It sounds to me like either an electrical issue or a bearing problem. The bearings fail in pumps periodically and can be replaced by a your local electric motor technician for pretty cheap. It sounds like the bearings are getting "stiff" and won't turn under low power. Usually, though, when bearings begin to fail there is noise from the pump too.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Two Harbors, MN, USA
    Posts
    40
    Correct, no leaks after the pump was put back together. I believe the o-ring behind the carbon seal was not properly seated. I had been putting off the extra seal kit, didn't expect it to go in the first year. Live and learn, new kits will be here soon. I did run some CIP yesterday, no leaks, and the pump sounds normal. Still is not running great under 15 hz, I think I'll check the spacing behind the impeller today. Supposed to be 1/16th space behind the impeller and wall of the pump, if there is any more it may cause some flow problems at low speed. Any other thoughts? I will report back.
    Beer lovers make better drinkers, and vice versa.

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