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We all want our air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps to run without a hiccup. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that you’ll run into an issue that requires some troubleshooting sooner or later.
That said, you can significantly reduce your chances of a breakdown by operating your pump correctly and conducting regular maintenance. On top of this, understanding how to properly maintain your diaphragm pump will give you the knowledge and skills you need to solve issues as they arise on-site.
So whether you’re currently attempting to fix a malfunctioning pump or are trying to avoid one, this blog on AODD pump maintenance FAQs will be able to help.
Q: How often should I conduct routine maintenance on my AODD pump?
A: It’s difficult to give a general recommendation, as this can vary depending on the specific application. However, most will do well by conducting routine maintenance once a month. Unlike centrifugal pumps, which may show a downward decline in performance indicating when replacement and repairs are needed, AODD pumps will generally either work or not work, so a visual and aural inspection will be your best preventative indication of pump problems.
Q: How do I maintain my diaphragm pump?
A: Before you begin pump maintenance, it’s important that you understand the basic components of an AODD pump. This is because you will first take your pump apart and inspect it when conducting maintenance.
When you do this, your first focus should be to inspect the diaphragm. Look for cracking, holes, warping, bubbling, and any other signs of wear. Usually, the diaphragm will be one of the first things to go, so if you notice any of the above, it may be time to replace it.
You will also want to make sure that the pump is put together tightly. AODD pumps can come loose during maintenance, in transit, or during operation, and can limit the pump’s effectiveness and even cause it to malfunction.
Q: What is the wet/fluid side vs. the air side of an AODD pump?
A: An AODD pump has two sections: a wet/fluid side and an air side.
- Wet/Fluid Side - This is composed of the AODD parts and components that come into contact with the fluid you’re pumping. Some parts include the diaphragms, balls, and seats.
- Air Side - These are the components that come into contact with the air and are supposed to stay dry (but leaks can occur). Some parts include the air chamber, air valve, and main shaft.
Again, it’s important to have a general understanding of these two sides and the various components that make these parts up when conducting maintenance.
Q: Why is my pump breaking down faster than the manufacturer states it should?
A: There are a few reasons why pumps fail faster than they should, so we will go into some of the most common reasons AODD pumps break down:
Chemical Resistance & Abrasion
Two of the most common causes of AODD pump malfunctions are because of chemical resistance and/or abrasion.
AODD pumps come in a variety of metals, plastics, and elastomers. However, there is no perfect combination of materials that are designed to handle every application. If you don’t have a pump with the right materials for the job, your pump can repeatedly break down faster than it should.
For example, even though many don’t know it, paint is an extremely abrasive fluid. If you were to use a pump with a neoprene or nitrile elastomer, the pump would likely malfunction and break down within a relatively short period of time.
This is why it’s important to purchase the right pump for the job. If you purchase through Versamatic, our expert distributors can help you find a pump that’s compatible with your specific application. You can also use our Chem Guide to help you find the right pump materials.
Issues With Pumping Lines
If you have the right materials but your pump is still breaking down, you will want to check for two things:
- Does the pump line have any clogs or kinks?
- Is the pump line too long?
Either can put added pressure on the pumping unit and cause it to break down.
Air Quality/Pressure Issues
Dirty and inefficient airflow can limit the lifespan of your AODD pump. Installing an air filter/regulator unit will clean the air and ensure you use the correct amount of pressure for your pump and application.
Other Versamatic parts and accessories can extend the life of your pump as well. Versamatic’s surge suppressor will minimize air surges and pump vibration, which in turn minimizes overall wear on the pump.
Q: Why is fluid exiting through the air exhaust?
A: If fluid is exiting through the air exhaust of your pump, it’s likely because you have a leak. In this instance, it’s best to take the pump apart and clean it out. You will then want to inspect the diaphragms for any leaks, bubbling, or warping, replacing them if necessary.
Q: Why is my AODD pump not pumping enough fluid?
A: If your pump is not pumping enough fluid, you should first check to see if your pump is designed to pump the amount of fluid required for your application. If not, you may need a larger, more powerful pump.
If your pump should be able to pump the amount of fluid for your application but is not doing so, it may be because you are applying too much air pressure. When it comes to AODD pumps, more air pressure does not necessarily equal more fluid pumped. This is because if there is too much air pressure, the pump will operate too quickly, not allowing the chambers to fully fill with liquid prior to being pushed out of them. Too much air pressure will also put more strain on your pump since it is increasing the number of strokes unnecessarily.
To find the sweet spot, you will want to consider purchasing an air filter/regulator. These will help you easily adjust the air pressure to find the optimal speed.
Versamatic Can Help
Of course, if you’re having issues with your AODD pump that are not answered here, check out our AODD pump troubleshooting guide. You can also contact us if you have any issues with your Versamatic pump.
If you want an AODD pump that’s built to last, check out Versamatic’s wide selection of AODD pumps. Versamatic pumps receive thousands of hours of testing to ensure they work as advertised, come in a variety of sizes and materials to handle nearly any application, and come with a support network that keeps your operation running smoothly if you ever end up running into a problem. Learn more about finding the right pump for your application by checking out the pump selection tool or by contacting a distributor today.