Pressure surges (water hammer) can damage various components of pumping systems, such as the pipes and the pump itself. This article discusses some measures that you can take to protect your water pumping system from this damaging phenomenon:
Install a Surge Chamber
Water hammer can result when a column of water encounters an obstruction that prevents it from continuing to the point of discharge, such as a faucet. Pressure keeps building as more water continues flowing from your water pump into the piping system. Eventually, that pressure becomes so high that water starts flowing backward. This can damage the pumping system if prompt action is not taken to stop more water from being pumped.
A surge chamber can be a useful way to absorb the pressure created when an obstruction prevents water from flowing smoothly through the system. This surge chamber can have an overflow outlet that enables the water to escape so that the dangerous buildup of pressure inside the pumping system is avoided.
Controlled Valve Closure
Water hammer can also result when valves within the pumping system close abruptly. This can occur when the pump is turned off suddenly, such as during a power outage. It is therefore advisable to install electronic valve control mechanisms in your pumping system so that the valves take longer to close when the pump is turned off. This regulated closing time will ensure that the flow of water through the system isn't suddenly disrupted.
Variable Speed Drives
Another way to protect pumps from water hammer is by equipping them with variable speed drives. These devices control the speed at which the motor rotates during starting or stopping. This regulated rotation of the motor will ensure that the flow of water through the system slowly increases or reduces at these critical points during the pump's operation. Water hammer will, therefore, be prevented. A soft starter can also be used as an alternative to a variable speed drive. The option that you use will depend on its compatibility with your pumping system.
It is usually better to prevent water hammer instead of dealing with its effects. Variable speed drives/soft starters and controlled valve closure are therefore better options to take when compared to installing a surge chamber. Have you been incurring high repair costs due to water hammer? Talk to a grundfos pumps expert near you so that he or she can advise you about the best way to mitigate against this problem in future.