Your centrifugal pump may be using a lot more electricity than necessary to operate. This problem can lead to your pump driving up your electricity bills when it is placed under the most use. The lack of energy-efficiency for a pump is the result of design problems that can be corrected.

How Pump Efficiency Works

A perfectly efficient pump is one that can convert one unit of energy into another unit of an equal amount. For example, if a pump converts two units of energy into two units of another form of energy, it is perfectly efficient. If the pump converts two units of energy into one unit of energy, it is operating at 50% efficiency.

Throttling Flow With Check Valves

One reason for an inefficient centrifugal pump is when you have a pump that is throttling flow through the use of a valve. Throttling flow with a valve will not only reduce the efficiency of the pump, but will also reduce the life of the pump and will potentially lead to a mechanical seal failure.

Mechanical Friction

Pumps often lose efficiency as a result of friction. Friction results from one of several mechanical parts coming in contact with each other without sufficient lubrication, which includes:

  • bearings
  • neck brushes
  • packing rings

Not only will friction reduce the efficiency of the centrifugal pump, but will also cause it to wear out more quickly.

Choosing The Wrong Pump

Centrifugal pumps will not be efficient if they are not used under the right applications. Some applications call for a displacement pump, such as when you want high pressure.


Cavitation will cause both noise and energy-consumption. Once the pump cavitates, it operates based on the best efficiency point, which is either to the right or the left. This leads to the pump vibrating excessively. The vibration is the greatest cause of early seal and bearing failure. It can also cause the instrument readings to be off. If you are not able to measure pressure, flow and power, you will not know whether the pump is operating efficiently enough.


Centrifugal pumps also become less efficient as a result of leakage, which leads to the loss of fluids and therefore leads to a reduced flow rate. This results from leaks throughout the pump that must be repaired to bring the pump back to peak efficiency. These problems do not represent every possible issue that can lead to a pump being less efficient, but they are some of the most common and correcting them will make your system less expensive in many ways.

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