When dealing with pumps, a packing failure can be devastating. In fact, a pump packing failure can lead to an unscheduled plant shutdown. The cleanup that’s involved with such a failure can also cost you tons of money and resources.

When considering the potential impact of this failure, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your pump doesn’t experience a packing failure. Below are a few things you should consider to help avoid a failure.

Importance of Proper Packing

The first step is to ensure that you’re selecting the right packing for your pump. Check which packing meets the parameters of your pump system. This includes making sure that your packing can handle the shaft-speed, temperature ranges and fluid compatibility.

Once you confirm that the packing meets the requirements, check packing samples. This is the easiest way to make sure that it works with your pump and to see first hand how to install it. Experts say that this is important because some packing is simply too hard to cut or needs to be rolled or stretched before installation. It’s important to get packing that is easy to cut and flexible.


The more durable your packing, the longer it’s going to last. Durability is key to avoiding all pump packing failures. Companies often choose the lowest-cost packing to save money, but this ends up costing them more in the long run because the packing fails, rendering the pump unusable until new packing is purchased.

Experts say that, on average, packing typically costs about 3 percent of the total cost when repacking a pump. This means that the real savings come from buying packing that will last a long time so that you don’t have to repack so often.

Improper Installation and Faulty Pumps

One of the most common causes of packing failure is improper installation. The next cause is a faulty pump that has damaged the packing. To determine which issue has caused your packing failure, remove the packing. If it looks thin in one area, it wasn’t properly aligned. If the old packing is abrasive or hard, this is a sign that the wrong packing materials were used. It could also be a sign that the stuffing box has finally worn out.

By selecting the proper pump packing, you can ensure that you have fewer equipment problems later down the road. Spending a little bit more money now can save you money because the packing itself represents such a small portion of the cost to have new packing installed. Replacing your packing too often will result in great financial loss.

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