While most residential, business, and industrial water well owners may be unfamiliar with the term "pump cavitation", it is a well repair issue that should always be taken seriously to avoid serious damage or failure of the well pump and an interrupted water supply to the home, business, or industrial facility that depends on water from the well.
Understanding pump cavitation
Well pump cavitation occurs when irregular or insufficient water pressure begins to affect the mechanical actions of the well pump components. Well pumps use a system of impellers to push water from an underground water source through pipes to the surface where it is needed. Impellers require that the incoming water pressure and flow rate remain at a sufficient level throughout the pump's cycle.
Variations in water pressure or flow rate can cause water temperature increases that allow the water to evaporate. During the evaporation process, water vapor and bubbling can occur within the impeller system. As the impeller rotates at a high rate of speed, impact with the vapor or bubbles created by the water temperature changes create heat and shock waves inside the impeller system. If not corrected quickly, well pump cavitation will produce excessive wear on the impeller system and pump components and shorten the effective lifespan of the well pump.
Recognizing symptoms of well pump cavitation
Well pump cavitation problems can occur in both surface-mounted and submersible well pumps, but the process of recognizing the symptoms are a bit different for each pump type. Those who own or manage surface-mounted well pumps are usually able to hear the sounds created by the implosion inside the well as the impellers strike the heated air bubbles and cause them to implode. These sounds may be described as grinding or thumping noises that can be heard when standing near the surface-mounted well pump.
Because of the submersible water well pump's location deep underground, it can be more difficult to recognize well pump cavitation symptoms. Owners or managers of submersible pumps may first notice decreased water flow rates or declines in water pressure when well pump cavitation issues are occurring. If the well pump cavitation issues have progressed, damage may have already occurred that causes metal shavings or pieces of the impeller system to be expelled with the water pumped from the well.
Well pump cavitation is a serious repair issue that must be dealt with swiftly to avoid expensive damage or destruction of the well pump. Water well owners and managers who need additional information about this or other water well pump problems should contact a water well pump repair contractor in their area.