Fahrenheit™ High Temperature
When it comes to commercial buildings, many owners need solids handling submersible pumps because of the materials that find their way into the system. But some buildings may have completely different pumps needs due to the way they heat the building or supply hot water. Buildings that receive steam through a regional steam plant or that use boilers require high temperature pumps to handle these hot liquids.Steam Distribution Systems
Many older cities have central steam distribution networks that pipe steam to commercial buildings. The piping comes in through the basement or utility room and branches out to heat exchangers to run hot water or the heating system. Hot water that condenses off of the steam system collects in an expansion or flash tank.
Let’s admit it – submersible pumps typically aren’t needed in sparkling, pristine environments. They’re meant to go down into dark, wet sumps, sewers, mines and muddy excavations. For the most part, correctly-selected and sized pumps do a terrific job pumping fluid. But not all fluids and operating environments are equal. Some are harsh and present hazards that require specific pumps to handle them.
What is a “harsh environment?” This refers to applications in which the liquid you are trying to pump contains materials that are especially damaging to a regular pump and/or the environment as a whole. Pumps not designed to handle harsh environments will likely lead to increased repair costs for your pump, as well as downtime that halts production. The good news is that there are pumps available that are built to handle these difficult applications.
Finding the right submersible pump isn’t always easy. If you’re dealing with high temperature liquids, you may experience the frustration of a premature pump failure. Let’s review possible causes.
But first, here are the basics. A submersible pump’s electric motor generates heat that if not dissipated properly can damage the pump. In most applications, the cooler pumped liquid transfers heat away from the motor to maintain the pump within safe operating parameters.Pumping High Temperature Liquids
Pumping liquids that are hotter than room temperature with a regular submersible pump (or a “high temperature” pump that doesn’t have a high enough temperature rating) can cause a series of issues that may result in catastrophic pump failure, including the following scenario:
- The hotter water limits heat transfer cooling of the motor
- As the motor runs hotter, the seal oil breaks down
- Broken down seal oil doesn’t cool the seal components properly
- As the seals heat up, the seal elastomers break down and cause fluid to leak into the motor chamber
- Fluid in the motor chamber causes the electric motor to short and the pump to fail
High duty cycles can also cause premature failures with submersible pumps.