Have you ever been in a situation of trying to solve an impossible problem? Over many years I have learned that trouble shooting and problem solving require that you think out of the box. Put another way, make a list of all of the probable causes and then rule them either in or out one at a time.
Of the many products which comprise a steam system, boiler feed pumps can be your best friend or your worst nightmare.
A boiler feed pump is the interface with the feedwater make up system, the deaerator, and the condensate return system. Any hick ups in any of this systems along with possible problems will lead to boiler feed pump problems and failure.
After struggling with a problem boiler feed pump problem with a customer for more months that required, we spent a Sunday in the plant and ran a series of tests on the pump and determined that the pump under certain situations was running way off the right side of the curve. Put another way, a 60 GPM pump under certain situations was pumping close to 90 GPM which then led to pump failure. Until I took the time to think outside of the box, we continually misdiagnosed the problem.
Lessons I learned included to look at every possible cause for a problem and when boiler feed pumps prematurely fail, view it as a symptom of other possible system problems. Now that we are a bit smarter, call us if you are having problems with your boiler feed pumps!